Local outdoors organization honored as one of the bestFormed back in 1991, the Star Prairie Fish & Game Association has played an active role in providing educational, environmental and conservation related programs and projects to the area.
Formed back in 1991, the Star Prairie Fish & Game Association has played an active role in providing educational, environmental and conservation related programs and projects to the area.
In April 2011, it was recognized as one of the top local conservation organizations in the state and received the prestigious Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Outstanding Achievement Award.
The club was also named Wisconsin’s Top Conservation Club by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress in 2005 and 2008 and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Statewide Conservation Club of the Year in 2006.
For a relatively small club with only 41 members, the accomplishments loom even greater. Its mission statement is “to provide, protect and restore environmentally important land and water areas for fish, game and wildlife that will create recreational and educational opportunities for all ages and abilities for future generations.”
The present officers are: President Dan Bygd, Vice President Chuck Magoon, Treasurer Stu Nelson and Recorder Mike Kelly.
Currently the club is involved in a wide variety of major projects and programs, including an annual Senior Pontoon Ride on Cedar Lake.
The SPF&GA has provided financial and physical support to the Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust’s efforts on the McMurtrie Preserve property located on the southeast corner of Cedar Lake.
Working closely with the Cedar Lake Rehabilitation District, fish cribs have been constructed and placed into Cedar Lake over the last several years to enhance the fishery while native plants and wild rice have been planted to encourage habitat restoration on the lake.
Sponsorship of several high school groups during the annual New Richmond Community Service Day and a high school scholarship presentation are also club annual activities. Funding is also provided for youth education and recreational programs, wildlife food plots, wood duck, bluebird and bat house construction and placement and local wildlife habitat restoration.
Last year the SPF&GA held its first ever “Rubber Duck Race” in Star Prairie’s River Island Park, which included 480 rubber ducks. The club drops them into the Apple River with each duck marked with a number. The person with the number of the duck that crosses the finish line first is the winner of the race.
The major fundraising event for the club is their annual “Buck’s Night” held the Monday before the deer gun season opener each year.
Partnerships are the backbone of any club and strong bonds have been forged with the Cedar Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District, Indianhead Bass Club, Ducks Unlimited, New Richmond Boy Scouts, Pheasants Forever, the St. Croix County Sportsman’s Alliance, the Willow River Rod and Gun Club, Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust, Wild Turkey Federation, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, St. Croix County Land & Water Conservation Department, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
For more information contact Star Prairie Fish & Game Association, P.O. Box 42, Star Prairie, Wis. 54026.
Because of budget cuts, both the Willow and Apple Rivers have had their trout stocking quotas cut for this spring. Legal sized brown trout will still be stocked but at a reduced number.
These plantings occurred on the Willow River April 28 with some rainbow trout stocked downstream at the Willow River State Park on an earlier date. Fishing should still be very good when the season opens on May 7.
Over the last 32 years Don Demulling, Jr. and his dad have kept an accurate record of ice out dates on Cedar Lake. From 1980 to 2011, the earliest ice out recorded was March 22, 2000 while the latest was April 24, 1996. Ice out is defined by Don as Cedar Lake being able to be reached shore to shore via boat travel.
This year, with the cooler temperatures, Don recorded Cedar Lake ice out on April 13, two weeks later than last year. The ice out dates over the last 31 years span a total of 33 days and highlights the fact that nothing in nature is predictable.
By Tom Kerr USF&WS
With the recent rain, and even snow, many of the small seasonal wetlands on area Waterfowl Production Areas are starting to hold water again. These small, shallow basins, often referred to as ephemeral wetlands, vernal pools or seasonal wetlands, provide important habitat for many species of wildlife.
These shallow wetlands, often less than 18 inches deep, typically hold water during only a portion of the year. Usually, they fill up with spring snow melt or rains and are dry by fall.
Although they hold water for only a relatively short period of time, they are extremely important to many species. Waterfowl, especially hens, rely on these basins to fuel up on high energy, protein rich invertebrates that are necessary for egg production.
But if you only look at these basins from a distance, you may miss many species that can only be seen up close or can only be heard because they are so secretive.
Frogs, toads and salamanders rely on these small shallow basins for breeding and use the surrounding uplands for feeding. Some species that may be found in our area include wood frog, spotted salamander, spring peeper and chorus frog. Many of these species are slowly disappearing from the landscape since their wetland breeding habitat is being destroyed, either filled in or so altered by runoff that they have poor water quality.
If you are interested in restoring drained or altered wetlands on your property, the Fish and Wildlife Service has a private lands program designed to help with habitat restoration. Through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, landowners can enter into a 10-year agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service to restore drained wetlands on their property.
Depending on the size of the project, there is usually no cost to the landowner. If you are interested in learning more about the program and discussing a potential restoration project, contact the private lands biologist at the St. Croix Wetland Management District at 715-246-7784.
Restoration of these small seasonal wetland basins is an important step in providing habitat for many species of wildlife, not just the common species that we can see from the road.
For more information on the St. Croix Wetland Management District, check out our website at www.fws.gov/midwest/stcroix/ or check us out on Facebook by searching for “St. Croix Wetland Management District.”