Apple River water quality remains high
Recently the Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust received a couple of River Protection Grants that allowed the group, through a partnership effort, to monitor the integrity of the Apple River by monitoring water quality and identifying areas of concern. The focus area of the river extends from the Village of Star Prairie through the Village of Somerset.
This section of river was divided into three legs, with volunteers checking out each leg. The last part of the survey extended from Riverdale Dam through the Village of Somerset and was completed a week or so ago.
Land Trust President Beth Wood and consultant Cheryl Clemens maneuvered kayaks while board members Mike Kelly and I manned my 12-foot boat to complete the final run. It was after the tubing season so we had the entire river to ourselves.
The only other human encountered on our cruise was a snorkeling diver that was probing the bottom of the river looking for lost "tuber artifacts" in a short run of rapids. It was the perfect day to be on the river.
The water level was the lowest I have ever seen on the river and the normal three hour trip took us two hours to complete. The water quality was very good with visibility to the bottom at every location.
Groups of wood ducks preceded us down the river and large schools of red horse and carp scurried everywhere. We observed numerous bird species and, at several locations, deer trails dipped down in the river to reappear again on the other side. We had to pull the boat at one location only but did manage to confront a few rocks leaving them tinged a silver color from the boat's bottom. Joyce Hecht, a resident living on the river, allowed us to take out before the rapids in town. Joyce has lived on the river most of her life. What a beautiful setting to raise a family.
All the information gleaned from the surveys will be passed on to the St. Croix County Land and Water Department, another of the partners in this effort. A map will be generated of the river with money available from the grant to assist in working with various land owners who may be interested in helping with the project. This is a win-win for all involved.
On Oct. 6, Jack Rasmussen, provided a buckthorn and invasive species eradication demonstration at the New Richmond Nature Center located west of town. Jack resides just south of Baldwin and is a life member of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association and past president of the West Central Chapter. He is a graduate of the Wisconsin Woodland Leadership Institute and is currently a senior product development chemist at 3M.
Jack proscribes the three-step process in eliminating buckthorn from your property. The first step is to "cut and treat the big stuff." Step two is to "go after the growing stock." The final step is to "treat whatever remains."
Jack's motto is to "make it a 30-minute job today before it becomes a 30-day job tomorrow." Many think buckthorn is a tree with large thorns. In reality the name buckthorn is derived from the terminal leaves that appear like a buck's hoof with a small spine or thorn sticking out between the last two leaves.
Following Jack's initial presentation, the group was led on an actual demonstration of buckthorn eradication using manual extraction, the cut stump method, basal bark treatment and foliar spraying. It was extremely informative.
If you are interested in treating your buckthorn, you can contact Jack at growvee email@example.com. The St. Croix County Sportsman's Alliance has funded a program of herbicide distribution for anyone interested. I also have copies of Jack's handouts which I will provide if you contact me at 715-294-3950 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead vs. copper
On Sunday, Oct. 28, the Willow River Rod & Gun Club will host a demonstration by the club and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to show the potential for lead contamination when lead bullets are used in hunting.
This demo will compare a variety of both lead and copper bullets in a variety of calibers. Several jugs containing water will be fired through and each jug will be strained for its contents. A paraffin material will also be fired through and vaporized bullet material can be visualized.
This interesting demonstration is free to the public beginning at 1 p.m. on the club land which is located off of County Road A between New Richmond and Somerset. This date is also one of the club's site-in days which are held prior to the opening of deer gun season.
Warden Paul's Corner
Pheasant Season Opener
The longtime and popular tradition of pheasant hunting in Wisconsin will again take center stage for upland game hunters when the fall 2012 pheasant hunting season opens statewide at noon on Saturday, Oct. 20, and runs through Dec. 31.
On Oct. 20 and 21, the daily bag limit is one male pheasant and the possession limit is two. For the remainder of the season (Oct. 22 through Dec. 31), the daily bag limit is two male pheasants and the possession limit is four.
Some public hunting grounds offer both hen and rooster hunting, which requires a free permit and tags and some properties also have a 2 p.m. closure time. Consult regulations when hunting elsewhere in the state. As always, valid small game license and Pheasant Stamp is required to hunt pheasants statewide.
Often during hunter's safety course the question is asked, "What is shining?" Shining is using a light to locate or "shine" wild animals, typically deer.
The light used could be headlights, a flashlight or a high powered portable light. In addition, laser sights on guns, bows or crossbows are lights by definition and are illegal. Many individuals like to shine animals at night just to watch the animals because many of the animals are nocturnal and not able to be seen during daylight hours.
Some hunters like to shine wild animals and deer to see where they are so they can hunt them. The following restrictions apply to shining.
It is illegal to use or possess with intent to use, whether or not a firearm, bow or crossbow is in possession, a light for shining wild animals (including vehicle headlights) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31. While shining, it is illegal to use or possess with intent to use a firearm, bow or crossbow. This includes anyone with a permit to carry a concealed firearm cannot shine while in possession of that handgun.
Lastly, it is illegal to shine at any time on federal refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas. NOTE: Some areas may prohibit shining by a local ordinance. Check with your local sheriff's department to find out if that restriction occurs in your county.
For questions or to report a violation, call Conservation Warden Paul Sickman at 715-685-2914, ext. 120.