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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

August 2005

Readers Write

Trout Fishing Enthusiast
Wildlife Threat
Milwaukee River Collaboration
Clean Air Testimonial
Garlic Mustard Delicacies
Catalpa Worm Bait
Disrespect for Pine Island
UPDATES: Second Monitoring Conference, Railroad-caused Fires, Pottawatomie Light Relit

Trout Fishing Enthusiast

© Judy Nugent

The April 2005 issue was great. In particular, Judy Nugent did an outstanding job in writing Coulee trout. Use her talents again for us trout fishing enthusiasts. I have a cottage in Marquette County and have fished trout in both Marquette and Waushara counties since 1971 and have caught my share of browns. Her article almost put one on the trout stream.

Your other article, River on the rebound, concerning the Milwaukee River was most interesting and revealing.

Harold W. Moilanen

Wildlife Threat

Although our seasonal-cabin neighbors were probably aware that manmade objects could pose a threat to wildlife, they were shocked when we called to inform them that something as innocent as their hammock, left strung up between two white pines, could lead to the death of a strong, six-point buck.

It appears the deer died of either strangulation or exhaustion after a struggle so fierce that it tore out an antler. Other animals took advantage of the situation to feed on his carcass.

Although we have no shortage of deer in Polk County, it's still sad to see such a sight and imagine the terror this animal must have experienced in its struggle for survival.

We hope you can warn others of how easily a piece of outdoor equipment can become a potential death trap for animals and birds.

Rick and Katie Fournier
Minneapolis, Minn.

Milwaukee River Collaboration

I was delighted to see the Milwaukee River featured in the April 2005 issue (River on the rebound). As it happens, a group of partners has been meeting over the past year to develop a collaborative vision for conservation, restoration and recreation in the upper Milwaukee River basin. These partners have all been engaged in one way or another in preserving the upper watershed of the river, and felt that by combining efforts and developing complementary projects we would be even more effective in ensuring the health and vitality of the river as a whole. Thanks for highlighting this fantastic river recovery story!

Karen Bassler, Gathering Waters Conservancy

Clean Air Testimonial

Wisconsin is the prettiest of all the states where I have traveled. When I arrived and stepped out the airport door, I took the biggest breath of fresh air I've ever had before. I will always remember it.

Susan McConaghy
Satsuma, Alabama

Garlic Mustard Delicacies

Despite recommendations for its eradication, I see that garlic mustard is flourishing! On my spring walks I have broken off and tried a few leaves. I found the flavor very interesting; a little like watercress. Perhaps encouraging "overharvest" with recipes and nutritional information while discouraging any thoughts of cultivation might help control it.

Al Corlett
Lake Mills

Your idea has merit with invasive plant specialists. In fact the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW) has issued a "Call for Recipes", asking for recipes that use invasive plant and animal species. Entries will be posted at Weeds Gone Wild. Click on "Recipes." When using garlic mustard for cooking, it's best to pull the entire plant early in the season before it flowers. Remove the roots from the area so they don't re-establish themselves. Once it has flowered, be very careful not to spread the seeds to un-infested areas by cleaning shoes, pant cuffs, tires and any other items that have come in contact with the plants.

Catalpa Worm Bait

I was just surfing the web about catalpa worms and ran across your site. Thanks!

Walter Burns
San Augustine, Texas

With fishing season in full swing, we invite readers to take a look at Angling for wigglers, worms and hoppers, (June 1997) for tips on baits that could help land the fish of your dreams. The story reveals that the catalpa worm, the larva of the sphinx moth, is legendary among baits. To use it as bait, you'll need to cut the worm in half, turn it inside out and thread it on your hook. The scent attracts fish, particularly panfish and catfish. The story is available on our website or can be purchased as a back issue for $3, plus postage and handling. Send a check for $4.50 payable to Wisconsin Natural Resources, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

Disrespect for Pine Island

What has happened to Pine Island?

Having been raised by parents who taught me to respect other people and all things around me, I have always taken pride in our state of Wisconsin. There are so many areas to hunt, fish, hike or just walk the trails anywhere in our state. I was introduced to the Pine Island area when I was 20 years old. (I'm 46 now.) I have used this recreation area to hunt white-tailed deer, turkeys, pheasants and other small game since then.

Last weekend I was fishing for walleyes on the Wisconsin River with my family when we decided to take a midday break and I thought we should drive to the Pine Island area. I wanted to show my sister and brother-in-law the area that I have enjoyed for all these years. I explained the Aldo Leopold Refuge and how it benefits nature and the people that enjoy nature. Then we drove down the narrow dirt road that I used for years to get to my best hunting spot.

This small dirt road has turned into someone's personal dump. Plastic garbage bags, empty beer cartons, TVs, other furniture and, worst of all, deer carcasses were left rotting right in the parking lot. I was embarrassed to tell my family that I hunt this area. We then drove east on Levee Road to an area that overlooks the Wisconsin River. Same thing. The area was used for a dumping ground for someone who was too lazy to take their garbage to the proper recycling areas.

Who is responsible for keeping this area clean? Drive down Levee Road and you'll see garbage and litter spewed all along the roadsides. Do the residents of this area approve of the garbage? There are homes along Levee Road, and you can see litter everywhere. What would Aldo Leopold say if he were alive to see the condition of an area he dedicated for preservation?

Michael J. Wessinger

Pat Kaiser, DNR wildlife biologist in Columbia County, explains that DNR wildlife management staff statewide oversee 215 wildlife areas comprising 467,260 acres as part of their duties. Another 120,000 acres are leased and managed for public hunting and recreation. Their duties concentrate on improving habitat conditions on these sites to encourage and sustain wildlife populations as well as provide a wide range of wildlife for both hunting and viewing pleasure. As time and budget allow, duties also include maintaining the roadways, parking lots and trails leading into these properties.

Unfortunately, some people view these rural properties as convenient places to discard their trash and dispose of larger items that ought to be recycled or transported to landfills, says Kaiser. "One might expect the occasional pop can or beer bottle from joy riders along these roads, but Mr. Weissinger is correct that some people have used these remote roads as dumping grounds for larger items and bags of household trash."

As budgets continue to get tighter, wildlife managers have less money and time available to hire the part-time staff who formerly built time in their weekly and monthly schedules to empty garbage cans at wildlife area parking lots, pick up trash discarded on access roads and haul away broken appliances left along these roadsides, which are also patrolled less frequently in tight times. Wildlife management staff welcome cooperation from community service groups, other volunteers and property neighbors who are willing to pitch-in and keep an eye on these parking lots and roadsides.

Updates: Second Monitoring Conference, Railroad-Caused Fires, Pottawtomie Light Relit

Second Monitoring Conference

Citizen volunteers will learn about new opportunities for their efforts, how data they collect is used and how to write grant applications at the 2005 Citizen-Based Monitoring Network Conference to be held October 21-22, 2005, at Camp Jorn, Manitowish Waters. Camp Jorn is located on the eastern shore of Rest Lake just east of Manitowish Waters in Vilas County. From Highway 51, take Highway W about two miles, turn right on Highway K, go one mile and turn right on Red Feather Road. Look for the Camp Jorn sign on the right. A small registration fee will be charged this year.

Railroad-Caused Fires

The insert about DNR's Firewise program (Spreading Like Wildfire, April 2005) focused on how citizens can lessen the likelihood of fire damage to their homes in the wildland-urban interface. A series of 37 fires along a 15-mile stretch of railroad from Muscoda to Lone Rock in early May demonstrated just how quickly and easily fires can start under the right conditions.

A Wisconsin and Southern Railway train was stopped at Lone Rock after setting the fires that burned almost 100 acres. An inspection of the locomotive revealed that hot carbon particles from the diesel exhaust had caused the fires in the dry grass along the tracks. High temperatures and low humidity that day increased the fire risk. DNR fire control staff and local fire departments suppressed the fires before they reached the edge of a 3,000-acre pine and oak forest that includes over 275 homes.

Pottawatomie Light Relit

May 10 was a landmark day for the Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Door County's Rock Island. After more than 40 years without a lens, a replica of the original Fresnel lens that once lit the lantern room was installed.

In the 1960s, the Coast Guard removed the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens and replaced it with an automated beacon attached to the lantern deck. The old lens, named after its 19th century French inventor, was crated up and stored in the basement.

It was later determined to be missing and its whereabouts have remained a mystery.

With help from the Department of Natural Resources and funding from the Friends of Rock Island and a Department of Transportation matching grant, a Florida company manufactured a replica lens made of brass and hand-polished acrylic prisms. On May 10, the lens was carefully hoisted up the narrow tower and squeezed through the hatch opening into the lantern room. It now sits on a cast iron pedestal where it will be used as an interpretive tool when visitors tour the station.

The public can view this optical gem every Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Columbus Day. For more information, visit Friends of Rock Island.