By Dorothy Lagerroos, J.D., Professor of Government and Environmental Studies, Northland College
Watershed groups in the western Lake Superior Region are busy protecting the relatively pristine waters and woods of the region. The Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA) continues to monitor water quality to establish base line information, since state and federal agencies have not yet gotten around to that. Five years of carefully collected base line data will help protect the region when development increases or industrial activities occur.
Bad River Watershed Association
The Bad River Watershed Association grew out of activities of the Ashland Bayfield County League of Women Voters, with assistance from GLAHNF. The BRWA also collects data on the more than 1,000 road crossings in the watershed. The group aims to prioritize culverts needing replacement or repair. Finding funding for repair is part of the plan to restore water quality. Helping towns obtain training and using that training during normal road maintenance is another part of the equation. New statewide rules governing town activities in waterways will be the subject of an upcoming educational effort, jointly conducted by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and BRWA.
Activities of the BRWA attracted the attention of River Alliance of Wisconsin, a statewide umbrella group for river activists. BRWA and four other groups out of 165 were chosen “top tier” groups, earning themselves River Alliance’s focused attention for training and capacity building. River Alliance, with funding from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, also made available scholarships to the national River Rally in Keystone, Colorado. BRWA is sending a delegation of three members to River Network’s annual training event. Thanks,WDNR!
Friends of the White River
Friends of the White River organized themselves to protect the only remaining stretch of this high quality trout stream not yet in public ownership. Landowners showed such strong support for protection that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stepped in and designated the area suitable for public acquisition as land becomes available from willing sellers. But the Friends aren’t done yet. Now they plan to let landowners know of various conservation actions they can take, from selling to the DNR when they are ready, to drafting conservation easements. Bayfield Regional Conservancy, a local land trust, advises the Friends, who are associated with the BRWA, since the White River is within the larger Bad River watershed.
The Inland Sea Society is counting down to its sixteenth annual Kayak Symposium, June 16-19, in Washburn, Wisconsin. The event features on-water instruction, Apostle Island paddle tours, seminars and entertainment, all promoting “stewardship through recreation.” Contact Inland Sea Society and 715-682-8188.
But the real buzz around the Chequamegon Bay these days is the enormous support that a totally new kind of effort is generating. Torbjorn Lahti, from Sweden, explained the Swedish model of Eco Communities, engaging more than 200 residents, including city and tribal officials, at a planning session in late February. About 75 people continue to plan for “Sustainable Chequamegon.” Information sessions on sustainable energy, sustainable business, and sustainable housing promote the idea using The Natural Step to guide development. These new activities join existing sustainabilitypromoting endeavors, including several community supported agriculture operations, many organic farms, the Living Forest Cooperative, Clear Water Folk School, and the Black Cat, an organic, vegetarian, made-from-scratch coffee house. All are working to save what we have for the future’s children.