Monday, December 20, 2010

Wisconsin's Waters 2011 Calendar Available

This year's calendar features a small sampling of the many means of enjoying Wisconsin's waters.

In the main picture, Lorenzo M. Newman, a wealthy entrepreneur from Chippewa Falls, poses in suit and tie with his catch, a sizeable muskie. Details abound in this picture. A closer look at the boat reveals a small stack of wood used for feeding the steam-powered engine, an oar and fishing pole stored on top of the canvas awning, a small electric lightbulb dangling near the center, cushioned seats for passengers, and a carved wooden owl mounted on the front.

The second photo, taken around 1905 on the shores of Lake Delavan, is of four youngsters seeking shade beneath a beautiful old canoe.

For just $5.00 (plus shipping and handling), you will receive the 22 x 28-inch calendar rolled in a tube, or stop by Map Sales to purchase your copies.

To order copies of the calendar, call 608/263.7389 or visit the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey at 3817 Mineral Point Road, Madison, Wisconsin 5370-5100.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Website--Lake Superior Basin in Wisconsin

Check out the new website for the Lake Superior Basin Education Initiative.

The website includes several new features:
- Information on the latest natural resource educational and outreach programs UW Extension is offering in the Basin (eg. Learn About Your Land and others)
- Archive for publications about research in the Basin
- Source of maps and online mapping sites for the Basin
- Meeting information for the Lake Superior Partner Team
- Links to this blog and twitters and our Lake Superior Partner Team FaceBook group

Thanks to Annika Sargent of the Environmental Resources Center for design and technical assistance. Thanks to Sarah Traaholt for support and encouragement.

Please contact me( with suggestions for making it better, typos to fix, new links or connections.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lake Superior Partner Team meets Dec 14, 2010

The next Lake Superior Partner Team meeting is Tuesday, December 14 from 9:30am-12 noon at the Iron River Community Center.

Please contact me with any agenda items.

Here is what we have so far:
1) Welcome and introductions
2) Announcements
3) Old Business
• Lake Superior Forestry update – Kristen Tomaszewksi/Ruth Oppedahl
• Marengo River Watershed Action Plan – Matt Hudson

4) New Business
• Review objectives of the Douglas County and Town comprehensive plans—Jane Anklam, Christine Ostern, Sue O’Halloran and Amy Eliot
• Poster on project to digitize the Bordner Survey for the Basin- John Jereczek
• Penokee mine update
• History of the Partner Team's recommendations on "slow the flow" and nonpoint source—Nancy Larson
• Begin framework for Basin plan

I look forward to seeing you then!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Northland Innovative Stormwater Management Conference

Who: anyone dealing with or interested in water quality or stormwater issues in the Lake Superior Region, including local government officials, planners, architects, engineers, landscape professionals, and more
When: Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
• Sign-in opens: 7:30 a.m.
• Conference: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
• Field Trip: 4:00 - 6:15 p.m.
Where: Edgewater Conference Center, 2400 London Road, Duluth, MN (map)

Cost: Conference $25 (includes refreshments and lunch) Field Trip $8

What: This full day event will cover new issues and innovative solutions in stormwater management.

Registration and draft agenda Registration closes Nov 12 at 3:00pm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve Designation Ceremony October 26, 2010

October 26, 2010 from 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.

The St. Louis River freshwater estuary will be designated the 28th National Estuarine Research Reserve in the country and only the second Reserve in the Great Lakes. The reserve will be known as the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Where: Superior, Wisconsin– UW-Superior Yellowjacket Union, Great Room (Superior, Wis.)--

Freshwater estuaries are unique Great Lakes coastal wetlands. They are a valuable community resource providing clean drinking water, recreation and tourism opportunities, and habitat for wildlife and fish. The estuarine designation makes Wisconsin eligible to receive federal funds to support education and research programs that increase the understanding of freshwater estuaries. The research and education that will occur at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve will help natural resource managers and area leaders address important community issues, such as water quality, invasive species and fish and waterfowl populations.

Parking is available in Lots 2 and 14 on UW-Superior campus.

Networking and partner relationship building will occur following the ceremony with refreshments provided.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bottle Gentians at the Visitor Center

You might see a small bumblebee pry open the top of a bottle gentian flower and dip in to collect pollen. The bee will stay inside the flower for a minute and then back out and fly to another. Bumble bees are the primary pollinator of bottle gentians.

Stop by the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center native plant gardens and see this beautiful late summer wildflower.

My grandfather, an early conservationist in Iowa had this poem read at his memorial service:

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

To the Fringed Gentian.

THOU blossom bright with autumn dew,
And coloured with the heaven's own blue,
That openest when the quiet light
Succeeds the keen and frosty night.

Thou comest not when violets lean
O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
Or columbines, in purple dressed,
Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.

Thou waitest late and com'st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frosts and shortening days portend
The aged year is near his end.

Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
Look through its fringes to the sky,
Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall
A flower from its cerulean wall.

I would that thus, when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me,
Hope, blossoming within my heart,
May look to heaven as I depart.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Slow the Flow workshop September 9 and 10

Forests, Water Quality and Land Management in the Lake Superior Basin. A free one-day workshop for forestry, wildlife, fisheries, and land managers.

September 9, 8:30am-4:00pm Superior (at the DOT/DNR building 1701 N 4th St) or
September 10, 8:30am-4:00pm Ashland (at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center)

Dr. Sandy Verry--Understanding the Effects of Young Forests and Open Lands on Watersheds
Tony Kroska--Using Land Cover Maps for the Lake Superior Basin
Ruth Oppedahl--Private Woodland Owners Attitudes on Forest Management
Carmen Wagner--Forestry and Watershed Management Considerations
Colleen Matula--Aspen Conversion Options

Registration is required by August 31. Download the schedule and registration form here. Lunch and refreshments are included. Space is limited, so sign up early!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rain Barrel Truckload Sale August 6 in Ashland & Hurley

33-gallon blue plastic recycled rain barrels
Fully assembled $40/each Order Form

Quantities limited! Prepay by August 1 to reserve your rain barrel.

Make checks payable to: Iron County Conservation Dept

Mail to:
UW Extension
29270 Cty G
Ashland, WI 54806

Walk-in purchase may be available as quantities permit on August 6 at the pick-up sites:

Iron County Forestry & Highway Building
Friday, August 6 from 2:30-4:30pm

Ashland Land Conservation Dept
(near Cenex Station on Sanborn Ave)
Friday, August 6 from 3:30-5:30pm

For more information contact Ruth Oppedahl at 715-685-2676
Hearing Impaired Relay:711

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wetland Invasive Plants Key and Field Guide

An excellent book is now out on invasive plants of aquatic and wetland habitats of Michigan. The 58-page book can be viewed here. The book includes a pictorial key for identification and species accounts with several photos for each species including the plant in the landscape, flower and other defining characteristics. The field guidebook includes a chart of invasive species by communities and a timeline of the best survey period.

Many of these plants are found in Wisconsin, or may be headed this way, and this book can help guide us in identifying invasive plants for early detection. This guide is a great resource for land managers and educators. Thanks to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Michigan Natural Features Inventory and Michigan State University Extension for producing this field guide. To order the book see their website.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

South Shore's Lake Superior Days July 17-18, 2010

Bruce Lindgren told me about the new South Shore Association formed on Wisconsin's Lake Superior shore between Port Wing, Herbster and Cornucopia. As part of the Lake Superior Binational Forum's Lake Superior Day, they are sponsoring a weekend of events celebrating our sweet water sea. Activities include geo-caching, kayak tours of Bark Bay State Natural Area, lectures (yours truly for 10 minutes!), quilt show, photo show, fish tacos and kids activities like exploring Lost Creek.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

June 5 Native Plant Sale

The 8th annual native plant sale will be on Saturday June 5, 2010 from 9:00am-1:00pm at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College (map). The sale is hosted by the Northern Native Plants Project in memory of Karen Danielsen and Pam Troxell.

Purchase native plants from our local nurseries: Boreal Natives, Leaning Pine Nursery, M&M Greenhouse and Wildflower Woods.

Sarah Boles of Northern Native Plantscapes
will be there to provide native landscaping information and answer all your native plant questions.

Many plants that were seen at the rain garden workshop tour this past weekend will be available for purchase: Joe Pye Weed, Purple Vervain, Turtle Head, Blue-joint grass and more!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thank you Bud (1926 - 2010)

Bud Jordahl and Emily Early Photo by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin

Bud is shown here with a good friend Emily Early, a conservation pioneer in her own right. I was lucky to know and work with Bud (and Emily too) who was a board member of the Dane County Natural Heritage Foundation when I was their Executive Director (1991-1998). Bud inspired me and hundreds of young conservationists by his work as as professor, board member, political advisor and friend.

Bud taught me to be deliberate and steady. His long, scope of history in conservation in this state fully informed his advice and thereby many organizations. He taught me about the history of land protection in Wisconsin and how ORAP (Outdoor Recreation Act Program) set the stage for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund in 1990 leading to the acquisition and protection of hundreds of significant natural areas in Wisconsin. This legacy made the preservation of Mt Ashwabay, Corny Beach and Houghton Falls possible.

Bud was vital in the initiative to create the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in our neck of the woods. He was part of that immensely influential group of conservationists including Senator Gaylord Nelson and Martin Hanson who came to power during the 1970's and whose work led to the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the formation of the EPA. Bud's generation was a group that set the foundation for the modern environmental movement.

Yet, Bud also stayed "downhome" and served on the board of our local land trust. He liked to wear red wool plaid shirts and loved to talk about his farm in Richland County, which he protected forever with a conservation easement. He would bring his brown bag lunch to our committee meetings.

It always felt to me that every conversation was important; he was a man of immeasureable integrity.

In Norwegian, Jor (good earth) dahl (valley)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Star Lab and Star Gazing May 7-9, 2010

School groups have been at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center today and one of their activities is going in the SkyLab--a portable (inflatable) planetarium. Mary Gruhl--key volunteer, is here to teach youth about the constellations and their Native American names.

She is also hosting a star gazing session Saturday night, May 8, 2010 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. called "Astronomy The Study of Stars and Planets". Enjoy an evening of star gazing from the Center's viewing deck at the top of the tower. Look through powerful telescopes at the Northern Wisconsin skies. Fee: $1.00 suggested donation for materials. Grades 6 & up.

Then, on Sunday afternoon from 2:00-4:00pm she will host one of her regular "Science Sunday" programs on Astronomy: the study of Stars and Planets. $1.00 to cover materials. Call 715-685-9983 for more information

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Learn About Your Land classes for woodland owners have begun

3/4/2010 The first week of classes for woodland owners started this week and will continue for six weeks. The classes are offered across the northern tier of Wisconsin Counties (Iron, Ashland/Bayfield and Douglas Counties). Topics range from learning the context of your land in the Lake Superior Basin (what trees where here pre-European settlement, what is here now, soils, water considerations) and how a forest management plan and different activities can help you meet your goals for your land while protecting the health of our streams and Lake Superior.

For more information, see the class brochure. And find classes offered all over Wisconsin (including our internet version of the classes) along with many publications at our forestry website for landowners.

Walk-in registrations are welcome at $10/class. Contact me with any questions. Ruth Oppedahl, University of Wisconsin Extension, 715-685-2676.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Draft Lake Superior Aquatic Invasive Species Plan

Public comment is open for the new Lake Superior Aquatic Invasives Species Plan. For more information follow this link:

Great Lakes Environment: Draft Lake Superior Aquatic Invasive Species Plan

Zebra Mussels in Lake Superior
Map & photo by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bad River Watershed--First Person Local Jan 16, 2-3pm

This event is a great way to build community interested in a watershed. Sponsored by the Bad River Watershed Association, First Person Local is a panel of community members--many who have lived their wholes lives in the watershed, sharing stories of the history of the place and the rivers.

This year's panel includes:


The event will be at the Senior Center in Ashland, Wisconsin (400 Chapple Street).