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DATE: September 22, 2003 FILE REF: MMCMIN 090903

TO: Marsh Management Committee

FROM: Andy Nelson, Area Wildlife Supervisor

SUBJECT: August 12, 2003 Meeting Minutes

Hello! I hope these early days of the 2003 waterfowl campaign have provided the makings for a memorable season.

Our September meeting began with a quick rundown on management updates from the HNWR. Refuge Biologist Wendy Wyoczik reported that water levels are of concern. In total the Refuge has 5 pools low with 2 being empty at this time. Lack of water means it will be difficult to flood Teal pool to make food available to birds. Also, the Main pool is getting dangerously low. This pool has a history of botulism problems. Unless rains come soon, we may have problems here.

Late summer shift / migration is underway with duck numbers building. Green-wing teal are showing up already. Whooping crane is still hanging around. FWs Regional expert coming to advise on shorebird management opportunites.

So far no botulism problems reported on state end. Beaver Dam Lake had a possible case, but so far nothing confirmed. Rain will help eliminate this threat.

Andy reports that the contract for boat landing improvements has been awarded. However, the contractor has not begun to work. No word from DNR engineers on when the project will begin. Hopefully this will not interfere with hunting!

The MBC grant application for funds to purchase a Marsh Master has been shelved. Due to budget reductions, DNR can not pledge its portion of the match funds for the proposal. As a result, we will have to wait to apply until next year or later.

Water level on the state end remains low. FWS has no water to send to us. Horicon Dam was closed on 8/26. At that time water level was 74.1. As of 9/12, level had FALLEN to 73.95. High temps and no inflow means water is continuing to drop in the marsh. Much rain will be needed to raise level to target level of 75.3 for season. Low water means navigation is very difficult outside of main channels. Most side channels, including Cotton Island channel are dry.

Andy reports wild rice had another good year on east side of the Marsh. Cotton Island ponds and other sloughs are packed full of rice. I-1 and I-2 impoundments are dry, but loaded with food. If rains come, it will be a duck feast! Even with low water, duck use is on rise.

Thanks to Jim Reinhard, we have mailboxes to put at boat landings. An information flyer regarding burning, spraying, and cattail control will go into the boxes in the next week or so.

Cattail spray effort went well. We accomplished 400 acres over 2 days, avoiding raindrops on 8/25. Last couple loads were lower potency due to running low on herbicide. However, dose should still be lethal.

Andy reported that gates on west side of the Marsh are closed to limit traffic flow to interior or upland fields. This promotes better quality hunting for deer and pheasants. Safety is also enhanced around the fish camp. Minor benefit of reduced wear and tear on the roads as well. North gate will be opened in time for duck season.

After a battery of updates, we had our feature presentation by DNR Researcher, Ron Gatti. Ron has been working with Ducks Unlimited on a coordinated study of private land mallard nesting in Wisconsin. Most of the study occurred in the Glacial habitat Restoration Area, lying north and west of the Marsh.

The study involves radio tagging nesting hen mallards and monitoring them to determine the fate of their nesting efforts. The results of the study are much to detailed to report here. However, suffice it to say a great deal of information was agthered which reinforces the approach to management DNR, DU, and many others are taking. Specifically, if we build / restore the habitat, they will come. When a more complete summary of the study results is available, Andy will try to share with all who are interested.

After Ron’s talk and a great snack break, Andy shared the Burnett Impoundment engineering plans. If the NAWCA grant is approved, DU and DNR willl work together to make this project happen. We hope to have a groundbreaking before the tulips bloom. Project will involve dike construction encompassing over 300 acres. This will allow for flooding the area with up to 4 feet of water. The impoundment will be open for hunting.

Finally, we discussed development options for Clark’s Ditch. There was general agreement that habitat in this area had declined significantly over the last 20 years. To help determine what management options would work best in this area, Andy proposed conducting a topographic survey of the area. By gathering this information, it is hoped that we will be able to identify which areas may be most suited to ditch plugs, scrapes, or other strategies.

The trapping auction has been set for Tuesday, September 30, 2003. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the USFWS Horicon NWR Headquarters Building. Our next meeting will be October 1, at 6:30 p.m at the DNR Service Center. Our agenda will include:

Management Updates (water levels, trapping auction results, burn planning, etc)
Boat landing Construction
Long-range Development Planning
Stewardship Grants

Many thanks to Dean Schaffer for the delicious snacks! Thank you also to Cheryl Kakatsch for taking these notes! Thanks to all for another great meeting!

Attendance:

Dennis Fruehauf Wayne Bandler Jim Reinhard Tom Schnaderbeck
Russ Sobczyk Robert Miescke Ron Gatti Andy Nelson
Ed Miescke Terry Vrana Noel Nogalski Joy Rambo
Keith White Andy Nelson Cheryl Kakatsch Gerald Voy
Mark Kakatsch Dean Schaffer Wendy Woyczik
Pat Byrne Ken Byrne Troy Ellis
Jerry Goetsch Norman Langlois Peter Zeigler

 
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