Project: Wetland Conservation League Project
County: Portage

Revisiting & Signing
by WWA Project Director Peter Ziegler

I got to review some of my projects this past week which I had completed last August in Portage county, a little west of Stevens Point. With robust vegetation due to excellent precipitation Project Signage 2016this year in the area it was a bit hard to see much and I had more wetlands to look at than time to go wandering ½ mile into the bush. I did snap a picture of one small basin, pictured at right, where Don and I put up a sign thanks to the landowners (Wetland Conservation League) who own the property and who were delighted to have us help them out with restoration.

As we start rustling around to begin sign construction Don says to me, “looks like three of your co-workers are leaving”, as we watched some new resident waterfowl take flight.   It’s always nice to see responses from wildlife that let us know that what we are doing as an organization is beneficial. Those three Mallards were finding some attractive food sources I’m sure, and there is no doubt the surrounding grassland mixed with this and other basins restored on the site are producing successful broods on this just 10 month old wetland.
Project Signage 2016-3

Rome Pond Wildlife Area

Project: Rome Pond Wildlife Area
County: Jefferson

RomePond6.1.16-7On June 1st, WWA Volunteers Mike Alaimo (pictured below at right, Waukesha County RomePond6.1.16-5Chapter) and TJ Schnulle (pictured at left, Twin Rivers/Jefferson County Chapter) met with WDNR Wildlife Tech Adam Holcomb and WDNR Wildlife Biologist Sam Jonas to place signage at six parking lots within the Rome Pond Wildlife Area.

 

WWA is among the very first organizations in the state to participate in the WDNR Adopt A Wildlife Area program, with the Twin Rivers and Waukesha County Chapters teaming up to adopt the Rome Pond Wildlife Area, earlier this year.

On Saturday, April 23rd, twenty-one volunteers, with 9 boats, joined together and pulled out more than 25 boat loads of debris, some of it shown, below, out of the public hunting areas, from old blinds, to trash, to broken down nesting structures. To see their detailed report to the DNR, click here.

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This program is a terrific way for WWA volunteers to be able to do work outside, to “get their hands dirty”, and really make a difference on the landscape, in areas that are important to them personally, as well as to a wide swath of the sporting public. If you are interested in potentially working with WWA on this sort of program, in an area near you, please fill out our volunteer form.

 

Abrams Property Prescribed Burn

Project: Abrams Property
County: Oconto
Project Start Date: 05/05/2016
Project End Date: 05/05/2016

2016Burn09After 4 weeks of waiting on Mother Nature to give us the favorable wind direction, speed and humidity, we were able to finally complete the prescribed burn at the Abrams property on Thursday, May 5th.

Jon Laudermann and five of his students from Fox Valley Technical College’s Wildfire program were on hand with two of their engines and all of their firefighting gear and tools along with WWA Project Director Peter Ziegler (burn boss), WWA Executive Director Don Kirby and myself. We were able to split up the crew and burn from two sides of the ponds to take advantage of the northerly wind. 2-1/2 hours later, both crews met on the west side of the property. The smoke was heavy but the crews were able to keep the backfires from going beyond the plan boundaries. No incidents were encountered short of a stuck engine truck and variable wind conditions at the surface but according to Jon Laudermann (FVTC) this was good experience for the wildfire students to use the engines winch and cable to quickly extract the engine.

A Prescribed burn is one tool that wildlife managers can use to improve habitat. The burns improve soil conditions, clear unwanted invasive plants and insects and help to warm the soil for a quick green-up of prairie plants.

The last burn at Abrams was over 5 years ago. Unfortunately the islands could not be burned this time due to wet conditions but a fall burn is planned to finish all three of the island areas.

A BIG thank you to Jon Laudermann and his Wildfire students from FVTC and to Peter Ziegler and Don Kirby for coordinating the burn. If you are North of Green Bay and have a chance, take a look at the burn area (you can see it from the highway), we expect the green up will be quick with a little warm weather and rain—-if Mother Nature cooperates.

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Rome Pond Wildlife Area Adoption

Project: Rome Pond
County: Jefferson
Project Start Date: 02/01/2016
Project End Date: 02/01/2018

A huge shout-out, thanks and nice work goes out to our Waukesha County and Twin Rivers/Jefferson area chapters who combined their volunteer efforts to adopt Rome Pond Wildlife Area in the Spring of 2016 through the WI DNR’s Adopt a Wildlife Area program. This new program rolled out through the DNR solicits volunteer groups to help improve the quality of our public lands. These WWA chapters will donate 100 volunteer hours to improve a Wildlife Area in their neighborhood at the Rome Pond unit, which consists of nearly 2,600 acres.

WWA volunteers began their work by cleaning, repairing, replacing and adding over a dozen Wood Duck nesting structures.  The chapters will also work to remove old duck blinds and other water debris as well as clean up and improve the parking areas around this public land throughout the year.  Their first Clean Up Day will be held on April 23rd.

Signage supplied by the WDNR will be going up in the Wildlife Area to recognize their efforts as well.

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Rosendale Project

Project: Rosendale
County: Fond du Lac
Project Start Date: 06/01/2015
Project End Date: 12/31/2015

Rosendale 1At this project located in Fond du Lac County, WWA worked in cooperation with United States Fish & Wildlife Service to replace a 40 year old water control structure (pictured, above).  A great sign of a successful wetland restoration, over 200+ birds species have been recorded at this site.

Hayden Creek Project

Project: Hayden Creek
County: Portage
Project Start Date: 01/01/2015
Project End Date: 12/31/2015

Hayden Creek 2Another project completed through WWA’s Large NAWCA grant, the Hayden Creek project was completed by WWA in 2015. This project, located in Portage county, was one where we also partnered with WI DNR and included the construction of small berms to impound water in fallow agricultural fields(shown pre-construction, above) which had been drained.

The image below shows the site during construction.

Hayden Creek 1

Suamico Headwaters Project

Project: Suamico Headwaters
County: Oconto
Acres to Restore: 7
Project Start Date: 01/01/2015
Project End Date: 12/31/2015

The before and after shots of WWA’s Suamico Headwaters project shows how dramatically the landscape can change once site work is completed and mother nature provides a little rain.  This project was completed by WWA with funding from our Large NAWCA grant.

Here is the Oconto County site pre-construction:

Urben Project 1

 

With big fall seasonal rains in Oconto County occurring 2 weeks post-construction, it is amazing to see how fast wetlands will fill. It is also amazing how a 2 foot berm, installed during construction, can really spread water over a large area when it is flat and the field had been drained. The image, below, shows the Suamico Headwaters site post-construction:

 

Urben Project 2

December 2015 Featured Habitat Work

Project: Oneida County Wild Rice Seeding
County: Oneida County

Wild Rice Seeding 2015

In late fall of 2015, WWA again reached into Oneida county area, working in cooperation with US Forest Service and Northland Pines charter school students (pictured, above), to establish more wild rice beds. Project director Peter Ziegler was joined by a class of students on a blustery day this fall, re-seeding wild rice on selected waters in the national forests.

WWA sits on the Wild Rice Advisory Committee of the WI DNR, which advises the department on matters pertaining to regulatory and management practices that affect wild rice in Wisconsin. The committee makes recommendations to the department, which support the conservation of the native wild rice resource for the health of aquatic and wetland ecosystems.

November 2015 Featured Habitat Work

County: Manitowoc County

Manitowoc County Project 2015

WWA Project Director Peter has been taking advantage of our perfect fall weather by staying incredibly busy, finishing up some of our scheduled projects like this one, located in Manitowoc County (for reasons that aren’t really clear, WWA has done more projects in Manitowoc County over the past 31 years, than almost any other area of the state – who knew?!).  The project work consisted of restoration of an existing structure which allowed water to flow into the basin, shown above.

 

Summer/Fall 2015 Featured Habitat Work

Project: Fall 2015 Projects

Project Director Peter Ziegler’s (wwawetlands@gmail.com) Fall Updates: “August and September proved to be as busy as I had thought they might be. I was all over the state, from Stevens Point to Green Bay to Milwaukee, conProject2structing projects. If my office is any indication of how much work got done in the field, WWA was pretty successful. There is no open space on the desk, and piles of project files, permits and other random paperwork are scattered about on the floor. I have been warned it needs cleaning and organizing. However, it does not look like I’ll get it cleaned before the southern opener as I’m looking at a few new projects in the center part of the state during this last week of September/beginning of October, and we all know opening day take precedent over everything else.

2015 Habitat ProjectI could not tell you the amount of acres we have completed at this point, that will take some time to summarize, but we did do six projects in 7 weeks and we still have a four more to complete in the coming month.

We had great conditions this year with a dry summer allowing a lot of construction to occur, and then, post-construction, we had some good rains which left many of these wetlands full of water for the first time since they were impacted 100 years ago. I have been getting many reports that the ducks have responded, utilizing these new wetlands.

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It’s always great to be able to get this kind of positive feedback and to know that you have restored another wetland that will help continue the waterfowling traditions and, come spring, will continue to support the breeding population within Wisconsin.”