Season greetings everyone!

I believe enough has been said about 2020 but the only thing to add is we sadly missed seeing everyone this year. Yes, the fishing was good and all the spectacular features were all there, some made it but it just wasn’t the same without all of you. Unfortunately, we saw many unused landings, a few small groups using picnic grounds and many lodges were empty all summer. Yes, lets all make a promise and make up for lost time next year…..keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, here is a brief update on our activities.

We continued advancing our water temperature research projects. The 13 temperature monitors were in place from May through October and data will be analyzed this winter. Once the data is all organized it will be shared with DNR and Fish and Wildlife Service research teams. Unfortunately, we lost one gauge that measures water levels. It would have been great to have the data as we experienced various high water levels throughout the summer and autumn months. However, the most interesting aspect of our temperature monitoring program was the permission given to access Cedar Islands Hatchery water temperature data going back to 1930. These daily readings will be plotted and analyzed by the Lake Superior Research Institute. Hats off to the many people who collected the data over the years and the Ordway family for allowing us to further the breadth of our program.

Many property owners have continued removing balsam trees for fire protection and forest diversification. While the removal increases the amount sunlight for natural regeneration it will help to diversify the understory with new species such as wild fruit trees, birch, shrubs, ferns and plants. The Nature Conservancy is working with federal agencies to encourage property owners to develop plans and offer cost-sharing initiatives. These programs will be detailed by the TNC in the coming months so stay tuned.

The removal of the South Shore Railroad grade is still a “work in progress”. It’s been a very frustrating experience for all the conservation organizations who have donated time and money to this project. Fortunately, everyone feels the need to continue so funding is still in place and will be used once the permitting process and plans are finalized. It is now totally in the hands of the DNR and while a removal date has not been stated, we are hopeful 2021 will be the year.

Earlier this summer, we met with the Landmark Conservancy to host another Brule River Coalition meeting. It has been a few years since we assembled over sixty people to discuss and prioritize issues that threaten the Brule. The purpose of a new meeting will be to evaluate our existing list of concerns and identify new issues threatening the Brule watershed….a definite action in the works for 2021.

One such issue which has received little attention is the spread of invasive species and the need to identify and control further growth. Again, the TNC has enlisted the Northwoods Cooperative Weed Management program in nearby Washburn to help property owners identify and eradicate invasive species. It is a top priority for BRP to manage our properties wisely and further our goal to be good stewards for the Brule.

Another issue which was of glaring concern was the increase of canoe traffic on the river. While we can’t control the numbers, we need to find ways to help DNR Conservation Officers make a serious presence or create alternative plans to help control unlawful, unruly behavior. If you were on the river this year you would have a contributing story to tell. We will be meeting with DNR officials this winter to help offer solutions and program ideas to help people obey laws and help protect private properties. We have had successful programs in the past so now is the time to do it again.

So once again, I encourage you to help BRP continue our programs. Please send your tax deductible gift to Brule River Preservation, PO Box 15, Brule, WI 54820. If you prefer the easier way, please visit our website and click the Donate button. All funds go to our programs and help pay taxes on over 400 acres of river frontage.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, THANK YOU!

Please accept our best wishes for the holiday and SEE YOU in 2021!