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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

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October 2003

Keeping it fresh

The Great Lakes as a precious commodity.

Natasha Kassulke


The Great Lakes contain roughly 18 percent of the world supply of fresh water. Only the polar ice caps contain more.

"It's a precious resource," says Mike Friis.

WCMP's efforts to protect this resource range from erosion control to combating aquatic exotics and working with the Great Lakes Nonpoint Abatement Coalition among other partners.

Trout Unlimited is helping improve the health of a tributary to the Chequamegon Bay with trout in mind. They're working on coaster brook trout introduction to Lake Superior. Trout spend part of their life in streams that feed into the lake and part of their life in the lake.

"The numbers are few now due to habitat degradation and over fishing," says Laura Hewitt, the Midwest Conservation Director of Trout Unlimited.

"Most streams of Lake Superior have been severely altered due to channeling for log running and more."

In 2001, Trout Unlimited and its partners wrote a WCMP grant to study stream stability and flooding. Recommendations included forest protection, road management, and erosion control and stream channel protection.

Tom Ward, a conservationist for Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department, says WCMP funding is allowing that community to inventory and model wetlands. The project dovetails another – a strategy to implement the new Wisconsin nonpoint source standards. Beach closings is another issue that the county has gone to WCMP for support.

"WCMP took our idea and is helping us develop it," Ward says. "The funding got local people talking to each other."

Natasha Kassulke is Associate Editor of Wisconsin Natural Resources.