January 31, 2002
TO: Marsh Management Committee
FROM: Andy Nelson, Wildlife Team Leader
SUBJECT: January 8, 2002 Meeting Minutes
Happy New Year to all!
It’s hard to believe, but we
have been working together every month
since March of 1998. That means that
the MMC has begun its 5th calendar year
of work to improve Horicon Marsh! Looking
back I think we have accomplished a
great deal. However, when I look ahead,
I see much more that needs to be done
for us to fulfill our mission. As we
plunge into the New Year, let's set
our sights on making this a special
year of accomplishment for the MMC!
As we often do, we began this meeting
with a series of management updates
from around the Marsh and beyond.
On January 7, Andy and Wildlife Biologist
Brenda Hill flew the annual mid-winter
waterfowl survey on Lake Michigan. This
year the lake held more ducks and geese
than have been recorded since the survey
began in 1972. Approximately 37,000
ducks and over 12,000 geese were on
the lake from Kenosha to Plum Island
in Door County. Highlights included
over 23,000 scaup, about 8,000 goldeneye,
3200 bufflehead, and 1600 mallards.
On the same day Wildlife Technician
Karl Kramer and Wildlife Biologist Mark
Randall flew Dodge, Fond du lac, Green
Lake and Marquette counties. In their
flight they tallied over 116,000 geese.
This included over 37,000 remaining
on Horicon Marsh! This was not a record,
but certainly ranks high on the list.
Crews are expected to begin hauling
gravel and rock on the top of the Bachhuber
Dike very soon. This additional armor
will help minimize erosion and provide
firm footing on the portions of the
dike open to public hiking.
DNR staff is monitoring dissolved oxygen
levels on Rush Lake. So far thin ice
and lack of snow have buoyed oxygen
and fish have not been available for
harvest. If they do become available,
we anticipate salvaging as many as possible
for continued stocking in the Marsh.
Volunteers may be called into action
when/if need arises.
Later this month, Wildlife staff from
DNR’s South Central Region will
convene to age deer jaws collected from
car kills. These jaws are intended to
augment aging data collected at registration
stations during opening weekend of gun
deer season. This will be the third
year of this effort and over 800 jaws
are expected to be available for analysis.
Several DNR staff had a short meeting
with Lake Sinissippi Fishery committee
members concerning management strategies
to remove carp from Lake Sinissippi.
Though these discussions are very preliminary,
they do offer some hope for substantially
reducing a huge reservoir of carp that
constantly try to make their way into
Andy also reported that he expects
to receive approval on a Stewardship
grant application. This grant provides
$6,000 from Wisconsin Waterfowl Association
and $6,000 Stewardship funding from
the state to complete pothole restoration
on the Marsh over the next 2 years!
Aaron Hoffman provided our feature
presentation of the evening. Aaron is
a prospective graduate student associated
with Delta Waterfowl Foundation. After
all necessary approvals are obtained,
Aaron plans to conduct a Nest Success
research study at Horicon Marsh over
the next two years. Though many details
remain to be worked out on Aaron’s
project proposal he was able to answer
many basic questions about both our
local project and ongoing work on the
western prairies. Please watch for the
time and date of a public information
meeting to kickoff Aaron’s
study before spring arrives. If you
have any questions in the mean time,
please call Andy at 920-387-7868.
Finally, we discussed completing year
2 of our muskrat surveys. These surveys
involve walking specific transects in
the marsh each winter. As the transect
is walked, each muskrat hut location
is marked and tallied. As muskrat numbers
rise and fall, we generally expect the
abundance of huts will change too. We
hope that over time we will be able
to use this survey as an index to muskrat
abundance. Traditionally, abundance
has been measured through harvest. However,
changing harvest regulations, closure
of areas to harvest, and fur prices
make harvest a less than perfect indicator.
By developing this new tool we hope
to get a better measure of wildlife
response to management actions.
Speaking of Muskrats… Following
the spring 2001 burn on the Bachhuber
Flowage it was very easy to count muskrat
huts on the new flowage. There were
4. After just one season with a mere
10 inches of additional water, the number
of huts has increased 100 fold! Another
significant fact is that this minimal
increase in water, combined with fire,
was enough to prohibit these cattails
from flowering. This is evidence of
plant stress. Based on these factors,
it is suspected that the cattail on
this flowage will open significantly
within the next 2-3 years. It sure will
be fun to watch!
If you’re an old (but young
at heart) Marsh rat, we need you to
join us on February 11th for our
next MMC meeting. We will be poring
over maps and selecting sites for our
next batch of pothole restorations.
If you know of areas with loose, floating
cattails that just a couple shots of
herbicide can knock out and re-open
a pothole, let us know! Your knowledge
can translate into improved habitat.
Perhaps most importantly, we might pry
a few clues out of Russ Sobczyk regarding
his top secret hunting spots!
- Our full agenda includes:
- Management Updates
- Muskrat Survey Results
- Calling all Marsh Rats: Pothole
Restoration Site Identification
- Wanted: HWY 49 Roadkill Solutions
- Water Management Fish and Wildlife
Style -Time permitting
See you on February 11 at 6:30 p.m.
at the DNR Service Center on Hwy 28!
Jim Reinhard Jack Williams Craig McKinney
Aaron Hoffman Jim Reinhard Ken Byrne
Norman Langlois Keith White Dick Koerner
Diane Pentilla Bob Dries Todd Cook
Andy Nelson Fred Ladwig Gary Kahlhammer
Tom Schnaderbeck Don Gamble Ron Tobianski
Dean Schaeffer Bill Wheeler Barbara