What: OTN Late Winter Gathering:
When and where: February 4th, 5:30 pm Riveredge Nature Center in the barn
Directions - click here
Dinner: chili, bread and sides (If anyone would like to contribute a crock of their specialty chili or some bread or a side dish, please let me know at least a week ahead.)
As always, feel free to bring a beverage of your choice to share.
RSVP: You are welcome to bring guests. Please let me know if you are coming and if you are bringing anyone else along. Thank you in advance!
New Tools for the Toolbox -
Andrew Struck, Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Director:
Title: Ozaukee County Coastal Resource Open Space Master Planning
Land use changes and invasive vegetation have dramatically and permanently altered Lake Michigan basin habitat available for fish and wildlife, and these changes diminish the ecological productivity of our natural areas and open spaces. Our vision is to have a series of protected properties that build upon existing environmental corridors, provide critical habitat for wildlife and migratory and non-migratory birds and protect land and water resources. While the Park and Open Space Plan (POSP) for Ozaukee County details land and water protection and restoration efforts and those of partnering organizations, it does not specify the parcel-level planning necessary for on-the-ground implementation and landowner coordination. The Ozaukee County Coastal Resource Open Space Master Plan (Master Plan) is a parcel-level planning effort for prioritization of parcels for preservation and restoration that will be used to inform and update the POSP.
The Master Plan uses GIS to systematically rank and prioritize parcels best suited for preservation and restoration activities according to a suite of analysis factors including biodiversity, impervious surfaces, stream impediments, riparian buffers, forested areas, groundwater recharge potential, and distance to protected areas. The current study area consists of parcels within the Sauk, Sucker, Onion, and Direct Lake Michigan Drainage watersheds, 85% of which drains directly to Lake Michigan in Ozaukee County. The overall goals of this Master Plan are to: 1.) Preserve and enhance ecological productivity and water quality, ecosystem services, natural resource management through preservation and restoration of environmental corridors, natural areas, and open spaces; 2.) Maintain prime agricultural lands; 3.) Promote compact and efficient patterns of urban development. These goals can be achieved through planning of preservation and restoration actions on priority parcels as identified in the Master Plan and POSP.
Nick MIller, Science Director for The Nature Conservancy's Madison office.
Wetlands play key roles in maintaining biodiversity and ecological integrity. They also function as natural infrastructure for ecosystem services that support people and communities. Because wetlands multi-task so well, their preservation and restoration is relevant to many stakeholders beyond those who typically invest in wetland conservation. The Nature Conservancy is working with Wisconsin DNR to develop a planning tool that supports the collective effort of these stakeholders. The tool takes a watershed approach to assessing ecosystem service needs, and then demonstrates where restoring former wetlands, and protecting exisitng wetlands, has the potential to meet those needs.
Intended users range from municipalities interested in storm and floodwater management, to outdoor enthusiasts concerned with fish and wildlife habitat. The project is based on analyses of spatial data in a GIS and builds on previous projects including several supported by Ozaukee County. The Milwaukee River basin is one of three watersheds statewide where on-the-ground testing will be used to validate and improve the tool’s usefulness. The ecosystem services included are: flood abatement, water quality (sediment capture, phosphorus reduction, and nitrate removal), shoreline protection, carbon storage, floristic quality, stream baseflow support, fish and aquatic habitat, and wildlife habitat.
Please let me know if you or your organization received any honors or completed a major project so I can add that info to our website!
From John Hoff:
Natural Burial Workshop: Returning to the Wisdom of Our Past at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Saturday, March 12 | 9:00am – 4:00pm (registration at 8:30am)
In this all-day workshop, local professionals (listed below) will share their experiences, explain alternative arrangements now available locally, and provide you with plenty of resources.
Conventional funeral and burial practices in the U.S. are only about four to five generations old and are very different from most practices elsewhere in the world. For many, it’s a difficult conversation to have regarding personal arrangements and questioning why we do what we do concerning our deceased loved ones. There are alternative and more natural approaches to caring for our deceased and their burial.
Come to this Saturday workshop and harvest the wisdom of our past by learning how to care for a deceased loved one at home and returning their remains to the Earth using the age-old practice of natural burial. Caring for a loved one prior to burial or cremation is not only the last act of love but the first step in the healing process.
The day will include:
∑ A screening the film, “A Family Undertaking”
∑ Presentations from four area professionals listed below
∑ Lunch (* included if you’re signed up prior to Friday, March 5)
∑ A 4-person panel discussion to answer any and all questions you might have
This event is handicap accessible.
Pre-registration is required. To register call 414-352-2880. (*Lunch is included if you’re signed up prior to Friday, March 5)
Fourteen volunteers (including representatives from Ozaukee County Land and Water Management, Ozaukee Treasures Network, Pheasants Forever, Clay Ridge Hunt Club, and Eco-Resource Consulting) planted over 1700 native wetland and aquatic plants on the B. Bruce Krier Conservancy on Saturday, August 15th. This was the third annual volunteer work day, bringing the total native wetland plants installed to nearly 6000 since the first event in 2013. Native aquatic species such as arrowhead, bulrush, pickerelweed, and bur-reed were planted in the water along with several native sedges and wetland grasses which were planted on the shorelines.
This 28-acre floodplain restoration in Belgium Township along both sides of Suckerbrook Creek commenced in 2011 with survey work, planning, and permitting. Over 300,000 cubic yards of colluvium (mineral soil transported from farmland into wetlands during decades of heavy rain events) was excavated from the wetland and land-spread onto adjacent upland cropland. These associated uplands were removed from agricultural use and restored into prairie along with extensive native re-seeding, plant installation, and invasive species management in the wetland. The wetland also hosts three scrapes which are heavily utilized by numerous species of wildlife.
The wetland restoration was the dream of Bruce Krier, who lost his battle with cancer late in 2013. Krier’s family owned this land and utilized it over two generations for vegetable production. Cropping took a heavy toll on the soils and in the early 1990’s Krier began to retire lands from intensive cropping practices and converting them to grasslands. Today, nearly 300 acres of native prairie grasslands have been restored and are managed primarily with the use of prescribed fire.
Since Bruce’s passing, Bruce’s nephew John Rassel is in the process of forming a non-profit organization that will preserve the land, continue with management and restoration efforts, and avail the land for botanical and wildlife research and youth conservation education.
Eco-Resource Consulting, an ecological restoration and consulting firm in Stoughton, Wisconsin oversees restoration and ecological monitoring activities. Future plans include a trail network with interpretive signage, bridges over Suckerbrook Creek, and several infrastructure improvements such as a nature center and pavilion.
Our next conference will be September 17th, Thursday, at 5:30PM at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.
We will do a go-around of introductions and shameless plugs and then spend the rest of the evening just connecting and sharing ideas.
Special: at the beginning we will have a short award/recognition presentation to Michael Frome to honor a lifetime of environmental action. Michael will be invited to share maybe 5 minutes of inspiration with us.
What you need to do:
As always, bring your ideas and requests for input from others
If you know someone who should be part of this group, bring them along!
Bring a beverage and perhaps a side dish to share.
We will provide sandwiches, plates etc. and some basic beverages.
Here is some information on Michael Frome mostly taken from a nomination for another lifetime achievement award. This conference is an opportunity to meet this environmental hero:
MICHAEL FROME - OUR "CLIFF NOTES" FOR YOU
Dr. Frome is an extraordinarily outstanding, and courageously bold Wisconsin resident who has dedicated his career to true conservation land protection. He continues to do so today as he approaches the completion of his ninety-fifth journey around the sun and the release of his 34th book. Another book is slated to be completed this fall.
Few if any can match Dr. Michael Frome’s longevity in, impact on, and respect within the conservation writing field. Dr. Frome’s historic career in journalism began over 80 years ago on his Clinton High School’s news staff. Dr. Frome gravitated toward pushing journalism limits early. He was a air navigator in the U.S. Army and was the first western reporter to penetrate the iron curtain around Poland. He began his outdoor writing career in 1945 as a newspaper reporter with The Washington Post and then as a writer for Field and Stream magazine, writing from his vast experiences exploring in our nation's wilderness areas and advocating for their protection.
Dr. Michael Frome impacted legislation and guided attitudes towards conservation while steering the concept away from excessive consumerism. He believed that by meeting recreational needs alone this country can not fulfill its obligations toward its natural resources. In 1970, Dr. Frome helped defeat a bill which would have given timber cutting priority over recreational and other uses in national forests. Dr. Frome’s tenacity on that continued before a distinguished audience at the 75th National Park Service birthday where he warned the audience that national parks commercialization will turn the parks into “popcorn playgrounds.”
HIs relentless articles both exposing the dangers to our wild lands and lauding their significance gained national attention. Former Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin declared in Congress: "No writer in America has more persistently and effectively argued for the need of national ethics of environmental stewardship than Michael Frome.
Author of 33 published books and seventy years worth of published articles, writing to advocate for the protection of lands is what he does, every day, using every technology he can find to allow him to continue despite being nearly blind and rapidly losing his mobility.
Dr. Michael Frome has led a distinguished teaching career guiding young minds in conservation journalism and environmental ethics at the University of Vermont, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies, the University of Idaho, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, and at Western Washington University. At Western Washington University he pioneered a program in Environmental Journalism. The University of Idaho established the Michael Frome Scholarship for Excellence in Conservation Writing. Dr. Frome not only fights for conservation as a writer but he fights for conservation in the classroom and seeks to educate the next generations as to conservation’s importance and the need to act.
Wisconsin seems to draw significant heroes of the environment to call this state home, men like John Muir, Increase Lapham and Aldo Leopold. This hero, Michael Frome chose Wisconsin as his home after his retirement from the University in Washington in 1995. Wisconsin has been his base of operations for his writing, his life’s work and legacy. His prolific work on his books is interspersed with timely letters to the editor of the local paper in Port Washington to educate and opine on local environmental issues and his popular bi- weekly blog. His influence in Wisconsin and Ozaukee County continues, even as his ability to get around decreases.
Michael is a soft-spoken man with a powerful message. On occasion he still addresses audiences on the importance of preserving our natural places. When Dr. Frome speaks on the environment, his soft spoken voice becomes a very, very powerful one. He imparts passion and care along with information and advocacy.
The Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust has established an annual award in his honor, The Michael Frome Outreach Award for demonstrating excellence in educating or sharing information related to land preservation and the environment.
We would like to take this opportunity to honor this extraordinary man, while he is still with us and advocating for land preservation on a daily basis.