I am hopeful by the time you received this newsletter that the Mississippi will have returned to a normal level. We were very lucky to have the river clean up on April 22 when the river was at a lower level. It was a cool and cloudy day but that didn’t stop 136 volunteers
(mostly our members) pick up 11,000 pounds of tires, barrels, appliances and just other garbage. We offer a special thank you to all those that helped make the annual FOP9 clean up a great success. I hope that you have been snapping photos for our “Friends Photo Contest”. The high water makes for great opportunities to get great views. You can find the forms on the FOP9 website. Many of our members and others have inquired about the closure of the Village Creek State Landing on Lansing Harpers Road. On May 14 I was told the landing will be closed on July 5, 2018 for grading, paving, and the addition of restrooms. Some parking areas will be widened to accommodate large bus parking for the Driftless Center. Sidewalks for wheelchair access to the water with some lighting will be added, and the ramps will be extended. The entire landing area will be closed until October, but when finished will be an asset to the area. We have placed a portable toilet at the site during the interim. On a personal note; when I became the FOP9 President, I set a few goals for myself and our organization. One of the goals involved beach sand restoration and enrichment. The Board has been working for years on these projects but it has become very daunting. I thought that we had reached a deal with the USACOE and we
just needed an approval of the McGregor District of the Fish and Wildlife Service. However, our hopes fell apart when we were told by FWS that we would need to hire divers to check all the areas for clam beds. My thought was divers, why not ask the little kids who wade the break line as they can tell you immediately where they are. Next, we were told that we needed to have the dredged sand tested by a laboratory to be sure it is “healthy”. I can hear people chuckling about this. Oh yes, we also needed an engineered design, and the last piece of information is that we would need to pay all of the costs. Our Board is disheartened with our partnership, we
have planted thousands of trees on the Refuge islands,worked to create canoe trails and pay for maps, cleaned up river debris, helped pay for repairs to boat landings and purchased other equipment, and seldom have had assistance from the FWS. The beach sand enrichment
is still in the fore-front, but on hold at this time. I am hopeful the Fish and Wildlife Service will help us reach one of the goals I wanted to accomplish with our great Friends Group. I know we are all looking forward to the start of our spring and summer activities as the time seems to go by so fast. Be safe and I’ll see you on the river.
FOP9 Beach Plans for 2018
Friends of Pool 9 members will be keeping area beaches in the best condition possible through a regular maintenance plan. Volunteers will visit the beaches bi-monthly and clean the fire rings. They will also collect trash that has accumulated on the beaches. Every person using one of the Pool 9 beaches should be a responsible person and clean up after themselves. FOP9 is again planning to clear the beaches of poison ivy and remove smaller trees that impact camping and
normal beach use. We continue to work with local Agencies for the addition of fresh Dredge sand to area beaches. We will continue to dialog with our “wildlife partner” (US Fish and Wildlife Service) and the US Army Corps of Engineers for beach sand to stabilize sand erosion around tree root masses. This was initiated years ago (island nourishment) by US Fish and Wildlife
to reduce island erosion and we would like to see it happen again on area beaches.
On a slightly questionable weather day with cool temperatures, moderate stream flow, and rising water levels, a group of hardy volunteers gathered at all ends of Pool 9 to help clean the Mississippi River corridor, for the thirteenth year. While many would find something else to do on a day like this, these folks put on their life jackets, boated out, and waded into the Mississippi. They walked the Highway 82 dike, scoured area beaches, cleaned and sifted fire rings, walked the boat landings and the perimeter of Pool 9, and boated into the backwater depths to retrieve as much of the unwanted man made debris as possible. Such is the desire and persistence of this bunch of volunteers from northeast Iowa, western Wisconsin, and other places unknown.
Collection sites located at Lansing (Brennan Landing), Black Hawk Park, and Ferryville City Landing were bustling with activity. The attendance count from all sites tallied slightly over 130 volunteers. Friends of Pool 9 provided gloves, water, garbage bags, a colorful T-shirt, and lunch for all. As a result more than 11,000 pounds of debris was removed from the river islands
and backwater. Strange items always appear on these clean ups, and this year was no different. Volunteers found three computer laptops, two living room chairs, a television, lots of plastic floatation barrels, tires still on rims, the “head of a mannequin”, and of course hundreds of plastic water bottles.
The Bob Henkel boat retrieved a 300 pound green navigation buoy that had been crushed and twisted by a tow-boat, and will be recycled. Clean up committee Chairman Bob Seeley complimented the energy created by volunteers for the success of the day. “Where else along the Mississippi could you find this kind of support to clean the river, no where else. These people are special, this Friends of Pool 9 bunch, they really care for the river and want to leave something good for future generations.” It was, after all scheduled for Earth Day weekend as it has been in past years, to find debris still uncovered of grass and weeds. Families large and small, individuals and friends, river-rats and city folk, some boaters and some walkers, most from the immediate area but others hundreds of miles away; all embraced the opportunity to do something good.
There are few places along this great river valley where individuals come together and spent four hours collecting, lifting and dragging unwanted items from the basin, but this is one of those places. The work and commitment of one is multiplied a hundred times over, and the result is spectacular. Partial poundage data for this year shows 6420 pounds collected at the Lansing dumpster and another 3420 pounds at Black Hawk Park, with the Ferryville dumpster weight yet to be reported. In addition an Iowa DNR truck picked up 300 pounds of debris at Army Road Landing, and 500 pounds of
metal was recycled. As of 2017, FOP9 volunteers had collected 140,000 pounds of debris and recorded 79253 hours over the years. This year’s totals will push the poundage well over 151,000 pounds (75 tons) of debris from Pool 9 for the 13 years; and recorded in excess of
8755 volunteer hours for the clean up project.
The event was the result of cooperation from the Lansing VFW, Brennan Construction, Allamakee County Waste Management/Town and Country Sanitation, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, US Army Corps of Engineers at Black Hawk Park, Prairie du Chien Waste
Management, and Vernon County Waste Management.
Friends of Pool 9, Upper Miss Refuge is an 800 member non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the specific goal of making the specific goal of making the 31-mile long pool one of the best on the Upper Mississippi River. The group also sponsors educational activities for youth, records eagle data, plants trees on the river islands, assists at Genoa Nation Fish Hatchery, and supports community projects associated with the river. Funds to support the groups activities come from corporate and individual donations, memorial gifts, and funds raised at the Annual meeting
Ferryville Tourism and Friends of Pool 9 Co-Sponsor Eagle Day
The sun was out, eagles were soaring, ducks were everywhere and a record crowd of 454 people attended the March 3, 2018 Eagle Day in Ferryville, WI. FOP9 co-sponsors this event with the Ferryville Tourism Council and this was an exceptional year. There were more children and families than ever. People come from Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois to enjoy the experience of seeing the American Bald Eagle, Kestrel, Red Tailed Hawk and Great Horned Owl up close and personal. The University of Minnesota Raptor Resource Center is the presenter for the live bird program which was very well attended at both the 10:30 a.m. program and 2 p.m. program. 2018 is the 8th year FOP9 has been a co-sponsor of this event with Ferryville Tourism Council. This year the group added a new feature with the addition of the “Spread Your Wings” banner, that has the real wingspan of the American Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel and Hummingbird on it along with logos of both sponsoring organizations. It was actively used by the children to get a photo and check out how big the wings really are of these birds. Seventy children made bird feeders and paper bird puppets throughout the day. The entire day is a free program including the great eagle and owl cookies, cake pops, Kickapoo Orchards Cherry Apple Cider and Sunset Orchard apple slices.
FOP9 is in charge of the famous “Hooting Contest” which gives folks of all ages a chance to show off their skills at sounding like an owl. Many thanks to Judges Larry Quamme and Mark Schneden for heading up this part of the program.
What a pleasure to have John Howe and Amy Ries of the Decorah, IA Raptor Center sharing the story of this world wide attraction and telling about what has happened with eagles of the past years. They honor the memory of Bob Anderson who worked diligently to bring the story of the eagles to a worldwide audience. Many thanks to Sue English and her team of FOP9
Volunteers who staffed the FOP9 booth, sold our items and helped the event in so many ways. We are looking forward to 2019 and another great Eagle Day.
Each year members of FOP9 help restore clam cages at GNFH, in preparation for ice-out and the growing season (for endangered clams) on the Mississippi River. US Fish and Wildlife Service Mussel Specialist Nathan Eckert coordinates the work day and the entire staff at Genoa assist with the project.
On Thursday, February 15 seventeen volunteers, thirteen from Friends of Pool 9 and four from Friends of the Upper Mississippi, met at the Genoa Hatchery work garage and refurbished 58 “clam cages”. The cages are actually used to contain the host fish, which have been
inoculated with young clams attached to their gills. As the growing season comes to an end in the fall of the year, the young clams fall from the gills of the host fish ad are collected from each cage floor to be placed in rivers and streams of the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
The host fish are released unharmed into the river. The following comment comes from writer-photographer Bob Modersohn, view him at www.facebook.com/DriftlessMode/. Nathan Eckert, a nationally honoredmussel biologist at the hatchery who has dedicated his professional career to the conservation of freshwatermussels lauds the efforts of the volunteer workers.
”FOP9 has proven very valuable to the Fish and
Wildlife Service, specifically by helping Genoa NFH
accomplish recovery projects for endangered species,”
Eckert said. These cages are going to be used in the
Ice Harbor at Dubuque, off the Mississippi in Pool 12,
the best location for them. Over the last seven years
they’ve been recovering an average of 325 mussels
from each cage that we’ve used there, Eckert said. The
yearly haul has been anywhere from 1,700 to 20,000
sub-adult mussels depending upon the number of cages
that we place there. “All in all the cages treat us very
well,” Eckert said. See more stories and pictures at
Modersohn’s facebook page .com/DriftlessMode/ as
Volunteers logged over 100 hours on this day helping the GNFH staff complete a project that would have taken many days or weeks to finish without the volunteers. The group of volunteers and staff numbering more than twenty enjoyed a special lunch together at the main office of grilled burgers, beans, chips, desert, and beverage. And we thank them for their effort, it was a
perfect day. This is one of those really valuable opportunities for Friends of Pool 9 and Friends of the Upper Miss, to help the folks at Genoa National Fish Hatchery. All working together for the betterment of the natural world, in this case to propagate an endangered species of mussels. They give of their time and energy so that together we can make a difference on the Mississippi
River and in the world. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Mead.
Board Receives Major Donation from Dairyland Power Cooperative
Friends of Pool 9 Board Treasurer Larry Quamme met with Dairyland Power Cooperative representative Brad Foss to receive their annual donation to FOP9. This represents the fifth consecutive year Dairyland Power has made this $1,000 contribution to Friends of Pool 9. Brad Foss commented, “We feel a level of trust and confidence in the environmental efforts of FOP9,
and appreciate all they do for Pool 9 and the Mississippi River.” In accepting the check Treasurer Quamme stated, “Thank you very much, we appreciate this donation, it shows an ongoing commitment by Dairyland Power, and it will be used to purchase liability insurance for the
MRAD Event Planned For Area Middle School Students
The Friends of Pool 9 Board of Directors have decided to try an MRAD activity with area Middle School students from Eastern Allamakee (Kee) and De Soto School District. It will be offered to students at the Middle School in both schools in September, 2018. The Chairman of the event is Lisa Welsh, teacher at EACS in Lansing. She will coordinate activities with teachers at
De Soto Middle School and the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center. The new format will make use of the Driftless Center facilities and staff, as well as volunteers from Friends of Pool 9. It will be a super day for all involved, and will get kids on the river and involved in activities at
the Driftless Center as well. More information will be forth coming.
Eagle Survey of Pool 9
A two-man crew of Jerry Boardman and Don Lathrop spent several days searching all parts of the 31-mile long pool and compiled some interesting data on the eagle population in Pool 9. They checked 171 of the 179 nests and found chicks or adults in 121 of the nests. This (121/171) indicates 71% of the nests as active, with many new nests. Fifty-one nests were marked as
Unknown (could not confirm an adult or chicks in the nest) and eight nests were blown down. This is the greatest number of nests (171) ever recorded in Pool 9. In 2016, 115 nests were checked and 91 (79%) were active.
This is a “call to volunteers” to help at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center and/or the Genoa Interpretive Center. Members interesting in giving a few hours monthly should contact Jim Janett @ Driftless (563-538-0401) or Ron Walley @ Genoa (608-526-4517) for more information.
ITC Continues Support of Friends of Pool 9
At a lunch meeting on Monday May 14, ITC representatives Dan Hagen, Mike Ivester, and Angela
Jordan presented Larry Quamme and the Board of Directors a check in the amount of $4,000. This is the fifth such donation in the last five years. The Interstate Transmission Company (ITC Midwest) group stated the on-going efforts of FOP9 to re-establish trees on the Upper Mississippi River Refuge, and the educational activities sponsored by the group as their reasons for offering funding. Last year FOP9 used it to coordinate intern activities to develop baseline data on river forests on the Upper Miss.
ITC has over 7,000 miles of transmission lines in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and plays a major role in the economy of the region. In September and October, 2017 Friends of Pool 9 members also spent hundreds of hours planting 25,000 white oak acorns on the Harpers
Slough Islands in lower Pool 9.