Bad River Watershed Association

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Watershed Action Program

Geology of the Marengo River Watershed - November 6, 6:00 PM

The Marengo River Watershed is a special place. It is a working, recreational and scenic landscape that contains beautiful rivers, streams, lakes and rocks!  Rock formations and outcroppings shape popular attractions in the Watershed, such as Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s Dome.   The public has an opportunity to learn all about the geology of the Marengo River Watershed, from ancient oceans to modern outcroppings and streams, from Northland College Professor of Geoscience, Tom Fitz.  Fitz has been studying the geology of Northern Wisconsin and teaching geoscience at Northland College since 1999.  His expertise is minerals & rocks, geological history and the relationship between people and the Earth around them.

“The Geology of the Marengo Watershed” will be presented on November 6, 2014, from 6 pm – 7 pm, at the Four Corners Food & Spirits, 30015 Cty Rd E, Mason. His talk will cover the huge variety of geologic materials that record a long & complex history in the Watershed.  Tom will display maps and rock samples after the talk.  He encourages people to bring rocks or other earth materials, as he always enjoys seeing what people have collected and sharing stories about crazy rocks.

The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Lincoln Community Forest, a 162 member nonprofit, volunteer based organization whose mission is to assist its owner, the Bayfield Regional Conservancy, with the conservation and enjoyment of the Lincoln Community Forest.  The Lincoln Community Forest is 396 wild and scenic acres in Bayfield County’s Town of  Lincoln, in the Marengo River Watershed.  Formerly owned by Plum Creek Timber Company, the forest was acquired by the Bayfield Regional Conservancy in December, 2012 to conserve its natural and scenic values and to provide the public with nature based recreation opportunities.  The land is accessed off of Marengo River Road and is open to the public for non motorized activities such as hiking, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, hunting and fishing. More information can be found at www.friendslcf.com.

The public is invited and everybody is welcome as this event.  Bring your curiosity, your rock samples from the watershed and your questions.  Stay after the talk for dinner or just to socialize. If you plan to stay for dinner, please arrive no later than 5:45 to put in your order so that you can be served shortly after 7 pm.  If you have questions or suggestions for additional speakers, contact Mary Wichita, 715-765-4132; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Checking In On a Marengo River Subwatershed Restoration Project

By Kevin Brewster, Restoration Manager

The Marengo is the most erosion-prone subwatershed in the Bad River watershed, due to the amount of open agricultural land present and its erodible soils.  But a lot of positive things are quietly going on across this watershed, and it's great to get little reminders once in a while just how committed some landowners are to helping improve the health of our watershed's streams.  Recently, BRWA landowner contact contractor Erika Lang led a tour to visit several examples of improvements made on the landscape that help reduce sediment pollution and improve fish habitat.  I was able to join the group for a visit to Ted Mika's cattle farm, where innovative streambed crossings have been installed to allow passage of farm equipment and livestock across sensitive intermittently flooded drainage features that cross grazed fields.  In the past, a standard practice used to deal with intermittent stream channels on farm land was to fill the channel and install a culvert to allow water to move through during wet periods.  The filled area was often added into productive acreage, decreasing vegetative buffering capacity to slow runoff to filter out nutrient pollution from livestock and reduce erosion.  The relatively new approach involves leaving a vegetated channel zone in place, contouring the crossing to the approximate natural stream bed level and then creating a compacted surface consisting of a base of course rock, filter fabric, crushed gravel and a top layer of crushed or fractured granite.  Eventually, the crossing will be re-colonized by streambed vegetation.  The resulting hard-bottomed crossing allows cattle or heavy farm equipment to pass through the flooded channel without getting stuck or stirring up excessive sediment.  A typical crossing costs about $5,000, with the landowner paying about 10% of that, and federal and county conservation incentive programs covering the rest.  The Mika farm now has five of these crossings installed, virtually eliminating problems associated with wet weather operations, and greatly minimizing impacts to the intermittent stream that meanders across the property.

 

 
 

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