Free the Scuppernong River

For thousands of years the Scuppernong River ran free, cutting its path across the bed of the old Glacial Lake Scuppernong per the laws of nature.

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In the 1870s Talbot Dousman established a trout hatchery at the headwaters of the river at the Scuppernong Springs, temporarily subjecting the river to the laws of man.  The trout farmers engineered the river with multiple levees, dams and flumes eventually leaving the headwaters submerged under two ponds.

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Scuppernong Ponds

I’ve been getting intimately familiar with the river, you might say, “getting in bed” with it, literally running my fingers through the muck searching for the original riverbed.  As I removed the planks that formed the flumes, I discovered that the river is bisected by 10 huge 6×8″ beams 16′ long.

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While the river was under the ponds, a lot of silt and marl migrated into the riverbed and, as we can see above, was trapped behind the beams.  This past Wednesday, Ben Johnson and I removed the first of these beams, the one shown above that points to the left, and we also removed more planks from the flume and other wood structures where the flumes began.

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Ben and I are very excited about giving mother nature a free hand to restore the natural riverbed in this area by removing the remaining 9 beams.  Free the Scuppernong River!

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Pati and I took a short vacation last week up at the Chippewa Flowage to relax and do some paddling and biking.  The area is beautiful and we looked forward to exploring it.  Pati found the excellent documentary below about how the flowage was created, and it was disturbing to see yet another case of the native tribes being steam rolled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  As we paddled different areas of the flowage, I kept thinking of how beautiful it must have been before the dam was put in, and the native way of life in the Chippewa River Valley was destroyed forever.

I was eager to get back to The Springs and on Monday, July 14, I spent the morning cutting weeds like Bouncing Bet (shown below), Nodding Thistle and Canadian Fleabane on the sand prairie.

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In the afternoon I got into the river and removed more of the planking that formed the flumes just below the Scuppernong Spring (see pictures above), and I discovered the 10, huge beams, bisecting the river.

Happily exhausted, I watched the sun set and imagined the river set free.

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On Wednesday, I “mowed” the trail from the area around the hotel spring, north up to signpost #13, and then, following the cut-off trail, to the marl pits.  I cut a lot of thistle that was about to go to seed and tons of white clover near the marl pits with my brush cutter, which is a lot more handy than a mower for stepping off the trail to get the nearby weeds.

In the afternoon, I cleaned up the area where I removed planks from the river.  Some of the oak planks are in relatively good shape and might make interesting components in some artwork.  I plan to revisit the stacks and reclaim some choice pieces.  You are welcome to do the same.  I asked Ben to bring his cordless reciprocating saw thinking we could cut notches in the beams to create gaps for the river to flow through.  That was a bad idea and Ben quickly concluded that we needed to dig the beams out.  It took the two of us over an hour to remove the beam shown in the picture above, but I think the process will go faster in the future now that we know what we are up against.

Yesterday I returned to The Springs to cut some buckthorn and pull spotted knapweed and found that Andy Buchta had completed piling all the brush near the parking lot on Hwy ZZ.  Thanks Andy!

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I wanted to finish a strip of buckthorn that separated an area we opened up last Fall from the area near the parking lot that we cleared this Spring shown above.

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I had to deal with some technical difficulties with my stump sprayer and chainsaw, its been a while since I cut buckthorn, but I got it done.

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I spent the afternoon pulling knapweed on the sand prairie.  Although the knapweed is starting to flower, there is a window of opportunity to continue pulling it before it sets seed.  Assuming I won’t get it all pulled, I’ll use the brush cutter to mow the remainder (except for the areas dedicated to introducing weevils.)  The problem is that its impossible to cut the knapweed without also cutting the surrounding native plants, so I’m trying to pull as much as possible.  The good news is that I sent in my permit to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, which I got from Weed Busters, and I should be receiving my Cyphocleonus Achates knapweed root weevils soon.  We’ll get the Larinus Minutus Obtusis flower weevils next year (that is how they recommend doing it).

Steve (third from the left below), and his Ecology class from UW Madison, stopped on their tour to say hello as I was wrestling with the knapweed.  Did you take a drink of the marvelous spring water?

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It’s buggy as hell now at The Springs and my bug net is constantly at the ready.  So be prepared if you come out…

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See you at The Springs!

The Indian Spring Garden

Ben Johnson and I shared one of those special days yesterday at The Springs, that make it all worthwhile.  We ignored the intermittent rain and incessant mosquito attacks to plant a garden at the Indian Springs.  Watercress and quack grass are out: native sedges, grasses, ferns and flowers are in.  When these plants take hold this will be an even more magical place than it already is.

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We started the day with empty wheel barrows, just down the trail from the main parking lot on Hwy ZZ, in the buckthorn alley.  The emergence, or should I say, explosion, of a wide variety of native plants along this trail makes referring to it as an “alley” a misnomer.  I’ll have to come up with a new name.  So we arrived at the Indian Springs with our diverse loads of plants…

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… and surveyed the void left by the recent removal of watercress and quack grass.

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The profile of stream bed has changed significantly since I removed the mud dam in the narrows of the picture above, and we furthered that process along by cleaning the debris from the literally dozens of springs that emerge here.  I don’t have scientific data to back this claim up, but it appeared that the volume of water flowing from each spring increased significantly as the obstructions were removed.

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Although I try to live in the present moment, I can’t help but look forward to next spring, when the transplants have settled in and we should have the deck repaired.  We spent the later part of the afternoon cutting and poisoning sumac and pulling spotted knapweed amongst the lupine patches on the west side of the sand prairie.  Thanks for your help Ben!

Pati and I are going on a short vacation (back around July 15th), so I got some licks in at The Springs this past Tuesday, cleaning up the areas around the hillside springs.  I mowed the spur trails that lead to the hillside and hidden springs, as well as the trail that leads to the emerald springs and the unnamed springs just to the north.

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In what will become a semi-annual event, I pulled loads of watercress from the headwaters at the Scuppernong Spring down to the first bridge downstream.  When my fingers encountered the planking they installed way back in the days when this stretch of the river was a trout factory, I couldn’t help but pull this garbage out.  I found huge 6×8″ beams spanning the river bed from bank to bank onto which the planks had been nailed.  These unnatural impediments to the stream flow must be removed.

Before…

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… and after.

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After removing the planks shown below, the height of the river noticeably declined.  The channel is now much deeper and more distinct.  When I showed the area to Ben on Wednesday there were two ducks, normally very skittish when humans are near, who refused to leave.  I think they liked the change.

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Along with the aforementioned beams embedded in the river bottom, there are still more planks and pipes left over from the old days that we plan to remove in the coming weeks.  This will go a long way toward facilitating the river’s return to a natural steam bed in this area.

Again, the late afternoon was spent digging and pulling spotted knapweed along the main trail on the sand prairie.

I thought it was going to be a classic Scuppernong Sunset as I bathed in the river, but this bank of clouds came up fast from the northwest.  I can’t remember a spring and summer where we have gotten so much rain so consistently.

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See you at The Springs!

Weeds “R” Us

Back in the days when I used to stand on street corners passing out dvds and flyers in an attempt to get people to re-examine what really happened on 9/11, I would often hear, “Get a life”, mumbled or shouted at me.  “I have a life”, I thought, in which the truth matters and starting wars based on tissues of lies is deadly serious.  Nevertheless, the insults stung and dumbfounded me.  Why don’t they care?  Why are they choosing to remain ignorant?  Is ignorance really strength?

Although no one that passes by as I cut and burn garlic mustard, or pull and dig weeds on the sand prairie, says “get a life”, I wonder sometimes if it is the best use of my time.   Maybe I should be trying to make some money?  And, isn’t the definition of what is, or is not, a weed, a bit arbitrary?

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope you don’t mind me baring my soul like this.  I’m volunteering my time — spending my spiritual currency — working at The Springs, and trying, one weed at a time, to make the world a more beautiful place.

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Since meeting Jason Dare on the trail last summer, I’ve adopted the approach of following the phenology of the weeds and timing my efforts accordingly; it feels like playing Whac-A-Mole.  There are so many weeds out there, and so little time, and I’m just one Buckthorn Man!

Paradoxically, I really enjoyed working on the daunting task of eradicating the invasive, non-native plants, infesting The Springs this past week.  I can see the progress being made and I got help from Andy Buchta and Ben Johnson, which was great.

On Tuesday, June 24, I pulled into the DNR 2-track on the south end of the property, and found someone hard at work grinding up the slash from the black locust trees that were recently harvested there.  They did the same on the north end of the property last week.  Thanks to Paul Sandgren, the Superintendent of the Kettle Moraine State Forest — Southern Unit, for making it happen; this is a huge improvement to the Scuppernong Springs Nature Preserve.

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I re-girdled some of the aspen trees just west of the Indian Springs and, hopefully, that clone will shrivel and die.  Then I pulled the flowering seed heads from smooth hawkweed and annual hawksbeard.  Unfortunately, the sand prairie is threaded with poison ivy, and I got another dose of it on my ankles and legs.

I mentioned last week that I did a little engineering at the Indian Springs, removing a dense mass of peat/clay that was blocking the channel and creating a little dam.  Here is how it looks now.

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When the stream bed settles down into its new profile, we’ll transplant some native plants to replace the quack grass and watercress that previously flourished here.

The late afternoon was spent pulling and digging spotted knapweed.  I contacted the Weedbusters and got in the queue for batches of root and flower weevils, which should be available by early August.  The Kettle Moraine Natural History Association is going to cover the costs!

I’ve been watching the area around the deck at the Emerald Springs for signs of life; it’s been a dead zone since I sprayed imazapyr there last year.  It looks like some brave grasses and sedges are finally starting to return.  I’m really glad I stopped spraying herbicide at The Springs.

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I missed the summer solstice sunset, but this is pretty close.
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On Thursday, June 26, I was back at it and, while I worked on the south end of the property, Andy Buchta was piling buckthorn near the main parking lot on Hwy ZZ.  Thanks Andy!

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I girdled a clone of little aspen that was spreading down the hillside in the vicinity of the Hidden Springs.  The mature aspen trees in this clonal colony were girdled last year, and its important to close the deal and get the little ones too.  The rest of the day was a repeat of Tuesday, only this time Ben Johnson joined me to pull and dig spotted knapweed.  We got a ton of it.

The highlight of the day was harvesting lupine seeds from the west facing slope of the sand prairie and sowing them along the trail above.  It will be sweet indeed if we can spread lupine across the sand prairie.

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See you at The Springs!

Watercress Bio-Logs

It’s been a week of dodging rain and catching rays at The Springs; mostly the former.  It’s really wet out there and it’s going to be like a steam bath when the summer heat finally arrives.

On Wednesday, June 18, I waited in my truck for the rain to stop and got in some uninhibited practice on my recorder.  I still sound really bad, but I’m learning my way around the instrument and it’s fun to make sounds.  When the rain finally stopped I mowed the DNR 2-track access road on the south end of the Scuppernong Springs Nature Preserve with my brush cutter; not the most efficient tool, but dragging a mower out there is a lot of work too.

I followed up on my efforts last week at the Indian Springs by transplanting a few of the sedges that are growing downstream into the area where I pulled quack grass and watercress, just to see what it would take.  If you have not visited the Indian Springs in a while, you will be surprised by the new look.  There was a shelf of peat/mud/clay around 20 yards downstream from the deck at the main springs that created a little waterfall about a foot high, and I removed this material.  So now the outflow stream has found it’s natural bed in stone and sand and the water table has fallen to this new level in the upper area where the main springs emerge.  Now we can proceed with the transplants, and hopefully, sometime this summer, replace the deck.

I pulled and dug a ton of spotted knapweed, hoary alyssum and hawksbeard from the sand prairie in the afternoon.  Lindsay Knudsvig and John Hrobar both informed me that there are weevils that attack spotted knapweed and I do need to follow up on introducing them on the sand prairie.

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On Thursday, June 19, we had a date with the DNR Fisheries team to observe them performing an elevation study at the hotel springs bridge, but the weather was dicey and they decided to reschedule.  I’m hoping they will also study the elevation at the two little foot bridges that are upstream of the emerald spring, as they seem to have the same profile, i.e. a place were an embankment formerly dammed the river and where marl and sand have collected in the riverbed upstream (symptoms of the river not making a natural headcut.)  These are locations where humans intervened with the natural lay of the land that we need to put right.

Pati is back from her adventure in South Africa and we had another mission that day to do our monthly river monitoring on the Scuppernong River, where it crosses Hwy Z, just west of forest headquarters.  Pati spent 9 years as a research assistant at the Medical College of Wisconsin and she really enjoyed doing a little science in the river!

On the way home, the sun was shining and we stopped at The Springs to take a walk and there we ran into a team from the USGS recalibrating the measuring devices at the gaging station.  I forgot to get their names but they were very friendly and thoroughly explained what they were doing.

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The consistency of the measurements are vulnerable to any changes in the river’s profile; moving rocks around, or even a bloom of underwater foliage a few feet downstream, can throw off the calibration.

Friday, June 20, I was back at The Springs with watercress on my mind.  It was three years ago that Lindsay and I attempted to clear out the watercress that was damming the river and it has come back vigorously since then forming new dams.  We started naively thinking we could actually get rid of the watercress, so we pulled out as much as we could, from bank to bank, and heaved it up and out of the river forming huge piles.  This released the river’s flow to the pull of gravity and significantly lowered the water table in the whole upper valley (from the Scuppernong Springs down to the old barn site.)

This time around, I decided to try something new.  After learning more about how the DNR Fisheries team used bio-logs to shape the river’s course, I thought of using the watercress to form natural bio-logs.  When I put my hands down in the riverbed and began to pull up the thick carpet of watercress roots, I realized I could just roll it over and pin it behind the stakes that were still in place from the effort the DNR made years ago to install bio-logs and stick bundles.

This approach addresses the fact that brook trout need bugs and cover.  Leaving the watercress on the perimeter of the river, creates a natural shelf the fish can hide under, and, in a few weeks, new growth from the watercress will again cover the river providing shade and a source of bugs.  The difference is that now the watercress root system will not be clogging the main channel of the river.  Of course, it will grow back into the channel and again have to be rolled out, but each time a layer of marl and mud will come with it deepening the main channel.  Well, enough talk, here is what it looks like now.  As far as the long-term results, we’ll have to see.

Looking downstream from the first footbridge below the Scuppernong Spring.

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Just as we saw back in 2012, the water level fell by 2-3 inches after the watercress dams were removed

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I think keeping an open channel will also compliment the DNR’s efforts to adjust the elevation of the river and produce a headcut.  My good friend John Hrobar, who spent his career working with water and studying it’s movement and behavior in complex ecosystems, totally disagrees with this approach and we have had many intense discussions about it.  I invite John to explain his position and rational either in a comment to this post or in a separate post.

In fact, later that afternoon, I ran into John and Sue Hrobar on the sand prairie as I was pulling spotted knapweed.  They pointed out a few new plants they had not seen before:

Clasping Milkweed.

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Last year, John pointed out that I was cutting all the purple prairie clover in my zeal to cut flowering spotted knapweed.  I was happy to show that I learned my lesson, and now we are poised for an explosion of purple.

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Flowering Spurge.

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The sun came out in its solstice fullness and it turned into a hot summer day for a couple hours.

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On Saturday, June 21, I joined Jared Urban and the State Natural Areas volunteers at the Bluff Creek SNA to girdle aspen.  We worked on the area marked in red below on an aspen clone that they started working on last month.  We focused on the little aspen that were spreading out into the prairie.

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Zach Kastern showing Jack and Brandon where to go…

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… and how to do it.

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Jack, Zach, Brandon, Jerry, Jared and Ginny.

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I left shortly after noon to girdle aspen back at The Springs but Zach, Jared and Ginny stayed to finish the job and pull some sweet clover and parsnip while they were at it.  It was an excellent learning experience for me and I realized that I needed to follow up on the aspen girdling I did last year to make sure the clonal colonies were completely killed.

See you at The Springs!

SEWRPC Surveys The Springs

I love to landscape the landscape at the Scuppernong Springs.  This distinguished tract of land deserves our love and attention for the sake of its beauty.  So please, come out and help me dig a little spotted knapweed from the sand prairie!

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The lay of the land at The Springs was evoked beautifully by John Muir, in his classic: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, and I had to pinch myself last night as I walked alone behind the Scuppernong Spring and thought: ‘this is my garden’.

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I’m intrigued by how others experience my garden.

Here is a great image from Landscape Photographer Byron S. Becker: “The photograph was taken in the spring of 2008 along Suppernong River near sundown. The camera was a 4×5 with a 90mm lens, using TriX 320 film and the exposure was 2 minutes; the developer was Pyronal.”

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Below is an example of Kristen Westlake’s Fine Art Photography.  You can see more of her images of The Springs, and all of her other outstanding work, here.

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I had a wonderful week of beautiful weather for landscape gardening at The Springs!  Last Monday, June 9th, I tried something new, per the advice of Jared Urban, and burned the first-year garlic mustard off the cut-off trail with my blow torch.  Below is where the cut-off trail joins the main trail at signpost #13.

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And after…

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I got the worst patches and now the trail is officially “burned in” as Don Dane would say.  I spent the afternoon digging spotted knapweed from the sand prairie and was glad to have Ben Johnson’s help with this seemingly Sisyphean task.  We focused on cleaning up the lupine patches.

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On Friday, June 13, I was joined by Dan Carter, Senior Biologist with The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).  Dan was continuing SEWRPC’s ongoing effort to document the vegetation at The Springs and invited me to come along.

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SEWRPC has divided The Springs into 4 areas for their vegetation surveys:

1) The dry prairie at the springs (aka, the Indian Campground)
2) The dry woods
3) The springs, immediately adjacent wetlands, and upper reaches of the creek
4) The fen and sedge meadow in the vast open area immediately to the west (includes trench where marl was mined).

The first three areas listed above are located in the blue circle on the right below and the fourth is in the larger blue circle to the left.  Click the links above to view SEWRPC’s preliminary vegetation surveys.

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As we walked through Buckthorn Alley on our way to the hotel spring, Dan and I stopped frequently to make notes and take pictures.  Dan recently completed his PhD in Biology at Kansas State University and he has a wealth of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  Here are just a few of plants he identified.

Lady Fern

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Sensitive Fern

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False Solomon’s Seal

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True Solomon’s Seal

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Be careful at The SpringsPoison Hemlock.IMG_3210 IMG_3211

Bulrush

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Forked Aster, a state threatened plant!

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Valerian

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Horsetail

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We visited the Ottawa Lake Fen State Natural Area and Dan showed me two new springs that I had never seen before.  They emerge from the east side of the wetlands and you can find them by walking across the fen from campsite #334 towards the north until you come across their outflow channels.

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Of course, there were lots of interesting plants here too.

Bracken Fern

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Lake Sedge

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And the carnivorous Pitcher Plant

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Thanks Dan, for showing me around the place I love!

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I spent the afternoon pulling and digging spotted knapweed on the sand prairie.  There is a bumper crop of this noxious invader!

A soothing sunset at Ottawa Lake.

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A “Honey” moon at the Lapham Peak Tower.

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I had the pleasure of spending yesterday, June 14, at my favorite spot again.

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The Indian Spring is being quickly overrun by quack grass and water cress so I spent the morning pulling these invasive plants.  Before…

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… and after.

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Then I moved up the hill to the sand prairie and continued pulling and digging spotted knapweed.  It’s going to take years to get rid of this stuff unless I get a whole lot of help.

Speaking of which, my good friend Carl Baumann, who has been harvesting black locust on the south end of the trail, split all of the logs in my woodpile setting the stage for some cozy fires at My Shangri-La.  Thanks Carl!

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And Andy Buchta noticed the freshly cut buckthorn by the main entrance on Hwy ZZ and he has commenced to piling.  Thanks Andy!

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It was a great week!

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See you at The Springs!

 

Group Trout Stream Therapy

When DNR Fisheries Biologist, Ben Heussner, contacted me last week about a workday on the Scuppernong River, I didn’t dare to imagine the fantastic outcome we would realize yesterday.  “Fix the water“, that’s what Tracy Hames, executive director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association,  preaches and we put that mantra into action with a Group Trout Stream Therapy session.

Ben set the table last December with 2 workdays on the river where the DNR fisheries team, along with help from Southeast Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, installed dozens of coconut hull biologs to re-establish the river’s natural meander.  Then Mike, a trout unlimited volunteer from Wilmette, IL, and Ben coordinated to bring a group of volunteers from Trinity United Methodist Church up to help us fill in the wet areas behind the biologs.  I can say unequivocally that this was the hardest working team of volunteers I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They were filled with the spirit for sure!

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Above that is Ben Heussner, Pastor Brian Smith, Donna McCluskey, Bob Meyers, Sarah Jacobs, Ella and Elliot Torres, Carol Meynen, Tom Board, Ward Reeves and Mike Jacobs seated in front.

Ben Heussner met Ben Johnson, Dick Jenks and myself to scope out the situation and plan the day’s work.

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He is a very busy dude, and shortly after he introduced us to the group from Trinity United Methodist, we were on our own.  It didn’t take long to establish a system to deliver the aspen I had cut to the locations on the river where it was needed.

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Our first site was the major westbound bend in the river, where we constructed a V-shaped wedge to define a single stream channel.

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We were literally on a roll and the team from Trinity was not shy about getting wet and dirty, which ironically, I found very refreshing.

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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling On A River!

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Thank you, thank you!  Look what you accomplished.  The views below begin at the first site we worked and proceed downstream.

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We hope to work with volunteers from Trinity United Methodist again.  What a great group!

On our way to take a walk up the river and inspect our work, Ben Johnson and I ran into this sand hill crane and chick, who were also checking it out.

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This is the point downstream of the recent activity where sand and marl is collecting after being flushed down the river.

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We continued to walk upstream and review the day’s work.

The meadow on the south side (right side in the video above) is especially lush with native plants and flowers.

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Ben and I agreed that the velocity of the river had definitely increased as a result of the work.  Confirmation bias?

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We’re not done yet!  Ben Heussner will be back in the next couple weeks to do an elevation survey of the area around the hotel springs bridge.  He is confident that, with a little excavation of the river bottom here, we can get a headcut traveling.  This will flush out the marl and sand that collected in the riverbed upstream, while it was under it was under THE PONDS OF THE SCUPPERNONG.  The result will be significantly improved trout habitat and restoration of the headwaters to its natural condition.  I can’t wait!

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See you at The Springs!

Scuppernong River Fish Count 2014

The Scuppernong Springs are “a world class site” according to Ron Kurowski, the godfather of the Scuppernong River Habitat Area restoration project.  I’m humbled to be a servant of Mother Nature helping take care of this beautiful place that attracts me so; it gives me the opportunity to manifest my vision for the world:

“The aggregate of all of our free will choices, bounded by the Laws of Nature, will determine the reality that manifests in this world.”  The Buckthorn Man

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The attractive force of The Springs has been drawing a lot of attention lately.

I hope to post the work of landscape photographers Byron S. Becker and Kristen WestLake, who draw inspiration from The Springs.

The dynamic DNR duo, Melanie Kapinos and Amanda Prange, organized a volunteer workday pulling garlic mustard at The Springs and we were happy to have Wendy and Rene help us.

Like a martial arts expert, Ben Johnson turned the pull of The Springs into the capstone project for the masters degree in environmental studies (emphasis on environmental management and planning) he is working on through the University of Illinois Springfield. This is a 240 hour commitment and we thank Anne Korman, Assistant Superintendent of the Kettle Moraine Forest — Southern Unit, for expediting this DNR internship.

Just last week DNR conservation biologists Nate Fayram, Jared Urban and Sharon Fandel visited The Springs and they provided great feedback and ideas about how we can do the right thing here together.  Jared was inspired by the visit and shared this excellent document, Biotic Inventory and Analysis of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, which is also available at forest headquarters.

I had a heart-warming encounter a few days ago at The Springs, specifically, at the hotel springs,

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where I met a group of people who were conducting a meaningful, and possibly religious, baptismal ceremony.  I was drawn by their energy, and surprised later, when they stopped on their way out to give me a beautiful, rose crystal, straight from the Black Hills, for my heart.  Not my head; my heart.  I get it!

DNR fisheries biologist Ben Heussner, organized a workday tomorrow to fill in with brush the wet areas on the outside of the coconut rolls they placed into the river late last fall.

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And yesterday I ran into DNR Water Resource Management Specialists Rachel Sabre, Craig Helker and April Marcangeli, who were doing their annual fish count on the Scuppernong River.

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Yes indeed, The Springs are attractive!

I started yesterday near the old hotel site taking down some of the aspen we girdled last year so that we can use the wood as fill along the riverbanks tomorrow.

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After a couple tankfuls of gas in the chainsaw, I was ready to move to the north side of the river when I saw Craig, Rachel and April with their fish shocking sled in the river.  I helped them last year and learned how they use electric shocks to temporarily paralyze the fish so they can catch and count them.  A coincidence, or was it the law of attraction?  I took a break from the chainsaw and followed them upstream.

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Don’t miss the shocking interview with the DNR team at the end of this video!

I was a mosquito on a buckthorn leaf watching them sort, count, measure and weigh the fish.

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4 Brook Stickleback

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58 Central Mudminnow

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107 Sculpin

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10 Grass Pickerel

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46 Brook Trout

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What do the numbers mean?

I really appreciated them welcoming me into their workspace and giving me an interview after barely catching their breaths!

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I commenced to taking down some huge aspen on the north side of the river and, an hour or so later, there they were again,

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taking their annual habitat survey.  I’ll let Craig and Rachel describe it.

I ended the workday cutting garlic mustard flowers with the brush cutter.  It looks like its run is just about over at The Springs this year.  I think we put a hurt on it.

Then it was off to the baths at the marl pit bridge and a sun setting headstand.

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See you at The Springs!