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New Richmond developing new dog park

Fish cribs have been placed in various spots around Cedar Lake.

Dogs, like people, have a variety of needs. Without proper exercise and socialization, both dogs and their owners can suffer similar afflictions. Health issues, both physical and mental can manifest themselves over time and quality of life will suffer dramatically. Life expectancy can drop and phobias can run rampant.

The city of New Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, along with the newly formed "Friends of the New Richmond Area Off Leash Dog Park" (FDP) are moving forward with a plan to establish an off leash dog park in New Richmond.

The New Richmond City Council recently approved an 11-acre site just west of the St. Croix County Health Center at the site of the old dump. This is the perfect place to construct the facility.

Plans are to have the park open this summer. Much of the fencing has already been upgraded and plans are to improve the access road, parking, gates and signage. Half the projected $5,500 cost of these upgrades will come from the City Park Land Dedicated Funds with the remainder coming from fees and donations.

Dogs are pack animals and you and your dog (dogs) share a common bond. Owning a dog places the responsibility on your shoulders to provide it with food, shelter, exercise and socialization.

In return the animal(s) provide you with companionship and unconditional love. Daily walks with your leashed dog are great ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors while getting exercise for both you and your dog. If you walk with a friend or alone and don't have a dog, borrow one. It will make the outing much more enjoyable. It is a proven fact that dog owners live longer.

These walks are very important but they don't really provide the dog with all its needs. Being able to run free and socialize with other dogs at a dog park will make your dog better behaved and less aggressive.

Remember, a tired dog is a good dog. It will be fun for both you and your dog while providing a benefit for everyone involved. I "Googled" dog parks on the Internet and found a wealth of information on the benefits of them. Many Wisconsin cities have them and also list "dog friendly" motels and places of lodging for dog owners.

Become a member of the "Friends of the New Richmond Area Off Leash Dog Park" for $15. Also consider a tax deductible donation to the group. Applications can be picked up at the city office. For more information call 715-246-4268. Your dog will thank you.

Signs of Spring

With the unseasonably cooler than normal weather, spring seems to have taken a furlough. Despite the delay, animals have been behaving as if it is right around the corner. The male cardinals have been voicing their territorial calls from the highest perches for several weeks now. The gaudy male pheasants have been observed staking out their turf with more determination and even some of the trees are sporting new bud growth.

Maple syrupers have been tapping their trees and getting good amounts of product to process. Below freezing nights and above freezing days make for good sap collection. The trees know spring is near.

Deer are also on the move. We have seen several of them crossing roads. A group that lives behind us make a nocturnal trip from the woods, down the driveway and over to our neighbor's sampling the planted vegetation as they go, making their way around the bay and back to the woods.

The groups of turkeys that have been visiting our bird feeders all winter to partake of the fallen seed have now been joined by three toms. The adult male turkeys are in constant display mode, strutting their stuff, with bright purple heads held high. The numerous hens are surprisingly unimpressed, however.

Soon the ice will recede and the crappies will move into the shallows. Ducks will return on their migration north and spring will finally arrive. With our four seasons, one only has to wait a bit for the seasonal changes. Is Wisconsin a great place to live or what.

Area fish cribs

Over the last several years, area lakes have experienced a resurgence of aquatic habitat restoration thanks to the efforts of our area fish manager Marty Engel and various conservation clubs and organizations.

Fish cribs and woody debris have been placed in Cedar, Bass and Glen Lakes in St. Croix County to help aid in keeping the lakes healthy. Certain lakes, at one time, had extensive bulrush presence around their shoreline.

With winter draw downs and other human activities, these lakes presently have only marginal submergent and emergent vegetation. Placing fish cribs and woody material in groupings now provides the necessary structure for microorganisms and invertebrates to provide the basis for the food pyramid. Bait fish feed on the little stuff, larger fish feed on the baitfish and so on up the chain to the predator fish and finally fishermen.

Some lakes have experienced water level fluctuations. During low water periods, landowners have removed much of the natural aquatic woody structure needed to keep the lake functioning naturally. Replacing this will help in returning the lake to its natural balance.

Recently a friend questioned the fish crib placement on area lakes, noting that the cribs concentrate the fish and make them easier to catch.

Identifying where the cribs are located only help in depleting the fish population. This might be true if only a few cribs were placed. When the lake is saturated with cribs, fishing pressure is distributed around the lake and everyone benefits -- even the fish.

The size structure and quality of the fish in our area lakes have increased remarkably since the crib placement effort was begun. At one time Cedar Lake was known as the "Dead Sea." It is now a "fishing destination" known statewide. It was also helped dramatically with the reduction of our St. Croix County pan fish bag limit reduced from 25 to 10. Most fishermen would much rather catch 10 nice fish than 25 marginal ones.

St. Croix County may not have as many lakes as some other counties but the quality of its lakes and fisheries is excellent.


St. Croix County's Conservation Congress hearing will begin at 7 p.m. sharp on April 8 and again will be held at St. Croix Central High School Commons, 1751 Broadway St., Hammond.

The meeting will start off with county delegate elections, followed by DNR Wildlife, Fisheries and Natural Resource Board questions. Citizen resolutions will then be taken from the floor. Voting on these will follow and if passed will move on through the normal rule making process. The Conservation Congress advisory questions will then be presented.

This is a great opportunity to have your ideas heard. Your vote does count.