Bad River Watershed Association

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Connecting People, Land, and Water

Watershed Words Lecture Series

Join BRWA as we take a closer look into the water resources of the Bad River Watershed. Read on for information about the next upcoming lecture in the series.

Wetlands of the Penokee Hills (choice of dates/locations)

Tracy Hames, Executive Director, Wisconsin Wetlands Association

May 2nd - 6:00p, Morse Town Hall

402 2nd St, Mellen, WI

AND May 3rd - 2:00p, Delta Town Hall

County Hwy H, Delta, WI

In 2013, the Wisconsin Wetlands Association began visiting the Penokee wetlands in the Iron County forest.  What they found were high quality, high functioning wetlands that feed the Tyler Forks and Potato Rivers.

Listen as Tracy explains the role of wetlands in the watershed.  See stunning scenery from this county land, and consider that perhaps the scope of its value extends far beyond the rocks that lay beneath it.


A Busy Month for BRWA

This past month has been full of great opportunities to meet with other groups and individuals who share our enthusiasm for environmental conservation and outdoor recreation. On February 18th-20th, Tony Janisch attended the Wisconsin Wetlands Association Conference in La Crosse, WI. He is shown below presenting information about our Penokee baseline water quality study.

BRWA also attended Canoecopia in Madison, WI on March 7th-9th. This is a large annual event presented by Rutabaga Paddle Sports, which can attract as many as 20,000 people over the course of the three-day event. Our attendance was made possible in part by Freshwater Future and the Indigenous Environmental Network. A special thanks goes out to them and all who volunteered their time in our booth at the event.


Four Grants Received Totaling $18,500

In the past three months, the Bad River Watershed Association has received four grants to support continued water quality monitoring and watershed outreach.

Late last year, the Patagonia Foundation awarded $8,500 to expand our baseline water quality monitoring in the Penokee Hills to include Total Phosphorus sampling.  Phosphorus is a nutrient that is held in rocks and soil.  When an area becomes disturbed, this nutrient can be released, finding its way to our rivers and streams.  Too much phosphorus can cause algae blooms and cause unwanted effects to the aquatic ecosystem.  Knowing  these levels before a large-scale event occurs will assist decision makers in making wise choices for land use.

Two grants received from Freshwater Future ($3,000) and the Indigenous Environmental Network/Western Mining Action Network ($3,000) will assist BRWA in  conducting Watershed Outreach at Canoecopia 2014 in Madison and the Wisconsin Wetlands Association Conference in La Crosse.  This funding will also support a series of lectures in the area, bringing attention to the valuable wetland resources we have in the Bad River Watershed.

An additional $4,000 from Freshwater Future was received to host Wisconsin mining discussion groups in order to better understand the values of the local community.  We are particularly interested in speaking with citizens in the region who are undecided or indifferent about the proposed iron mine near Mellen.  If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in these discussions, please contact us.


If you are in Madison on March 7-9, please consider visiting us at Canoecopia in booth A10!


Thanks for making it a great 2013!

We would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. Hopefully everyone got to enjoy the holiday season and festive winter weather with family and friends. While it may be cold outside, our hearts are warmed by all the friends and supporters of BRWA. A heartfelt thanks goes out to the many individuals, area businesses, and nonprofit groups who have made volunteer and financial contributions in 2013.

Because of your support and involvement, our water quality monitoring program has seen a very successful year and an influx of new volunteers. We have also been able to continue working with landowners in the Marengo subwatershed and have had the pleasure of attending local and state events such as those hosted by the Iron County Citizen’s Forum, the White River Fish Boil, Lake Superior Days, and Canoecopia. Many of the new friends we’ve made in the past year live far away, but wanted to get involved because they were impressed and moved by the work we do as a community to protect and improve the health of our watershed and local ecosystems. Some have made a point to wish us the best as we engage the issue of a potential mine.

It’s easy to see what a close-knit and empowered community we are, and this community includes our friends who live outside the watershed. Together, we can accomplish great things! This tells me we are going to have a wonderful and productive 2014 as well. Cheers!

Please contact us with your ideas for projects or events in the coming year.


White River Walk a Success

On October 26, 2013, twenty-five enthusiastic attendees braved the variable weather (from blue skies to cold wind and sleet) to join us on the White River Walk.  The group met in the morning on Delta-Drummond Road. Before heading out on the walk, hot coffee and cider and bakery from the Delta Diner Store were served. Sjana, our Board President, welcomed the crowd and told them a little bit about Bad River Watershed Association. Then, Dennis Musil spoke and shared pictures of old buildings of the White River Fisheries area once known as Delta Brook Trout Company, a 1950s resort and fish hatchery.

Pam Roberts, Coordinator of the Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management Area (NCWMA), spoke about invasive plants such as Glossy Buckthorn and their effects on the environment. She also described the NCWMA, which is a collective effort within Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, and Douglas counties to fight invasive species. Following this, the group hiked down the trail as Cristopher Sand, Wisconsin DNR Fisheries Technician, discussed river restoration work that has been done to improve fish habitat.

Despite the cold, the group enjoyed the walk so much that they ended up extending it. Some trout were even spotted darting around in the river! We enjoyed the opportunity to meet some wonderful new people, including several new members.

Marba Pogue, White River Walk attendee, has shared her pictures from the walk so that the scenery can be enjoyed by all.



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