It is a cold, damp day on the river where temperatures have dropped nearly 40 degrees within 24 hours. The forecast now predicts an increase in temps by tomorrow noon of 35 degrees. What can I say, it’s Brule! We go from the porch to the fireplace, back to the porch prepared to change from tee shirt to a fleece within minutes. Welcome to our spring!
Since we will not be hosting our annual membership meeting this year, I thought it best to bring you up to speed on our projects, activities and commitments.
You may recall, a number of years ago we raised funds for the DNR to employ a person to monitor canoe landings and educate river enthusiasts to DNR regulations as well to enjoy the natural beauty, be respectful to others and private property. The program eventually became a budgeted item to DNR and then ended up being suspended due to budget cuts. Since then the river traffic increased along with problems of littering, inappropriate behavior, noise and trespassing. After a meeting with local DNR officials, they suggested we resume funding the Landing Host position, which we gratefully appreciated and accepted. The plan now is to fund a DNR employee Thursday – Sunday, starting June 16 through Labor Day weekend. The uniformed individual would monitor all landing sites, including Stones Bridge, Winneboujou and Pine Tree landing. The landing host would be available for educational purposes only, while enforcement remains the responsibility of the Douglas County Sheriff Dept. and DNR Conservation Wardens.
The Douglas County Conservation Department, Nature Conservancy and the Brule River Preservation have teamed up to remove expanding concentrations of cattails on the river. The focus of attention will be from Stone’s Bridge to the Town of Brule. Our commitment is to help with funding and provide volunteer hours to remove the cattails in select areas in Big Lake, Lucius and Spring Lake. The seriousness of the problem is evident, and will take a strong effort to reduce all invasive plants in the years to come. During the course of the summer, we will be asking for volunteer support to help us cut cattails…yes, there is work to be done, but also have fun. Stay tuned as we will announce works days over the course of the summer.
LAKE NEBAGAMON RAILWAY GRADE
While our (BRP) work or involvement in the project is basically complete, the DNR has now accepted full responsibility to secure various permits and remove the threat of the railroad grade from collapsing over Nebagamon Creek. The entire process has been extremely slow and complicated, often times frustrating. However, we are now at the point whereby, county and town governments and DNR can begin planning and finalizing the permitting process. Hopefully, by late fall the removal will begin. The source of funds has largely been made by government grants, an equal amount through private donations, including members of BRP and the Brule River Sportsman’s Club. Yes, we still have some way to go, yet everyone is working together. It has been a long complicated, frustrating story and what was once deemed an insurmountable project now seems doable.
TEMPERATURE MONITORING AND SEDIMENTATION RESEARCH
We will be putting on our waders next Thursday to place thermistors in 12 locations from headwaters to Highway 13. While most are located in critical areas along the river, others are located near springs and tributaries. Along with the staff and technical support from Lake Superior Research Institute (UWS), Cedar Island Conservancy has provided us with water and air temperature data collected over 85 years from their fish hatchery records. It will now be entered into a data base and analyzed for any trends or changes. Climate change is inevitable, but research and raw data needs to be collected to we protect the watershed using common sense conservation practices.
With all the news this brings me to my last few comments. We need your financial support…we cannot pay our property taxes, nor programs without your assistance. Whether it be science- based research, invasive species removal or the much need educational components for recreational users, we need your support. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to Brule River Preservation. A donation can be sent to our Treasurer Michael Spencer at:
Brule River Preservation
PO Box 15
Brule WI 54820
or visit our website: bruleriverpresevation.org and click on the DONATE button. Your gift is greatly appreciated, especially with our latest efforts and programs.
Lastly, I want to express our sadness of the loss of one of Brule’s dearest friends, Ted Weyerhaeuser. Ted, along with others organized and founded BRP to protect the Brule and its pristine resources. Our deep appreciation for his love for the river, financial support for programs and his personal charm will not be forgotten. To Nancy and the family, please know our thoughts and prayers are with you.
All our best and hope to see on the river soon. If you have any questions, please let me know. Your input is always welcome!