Janesville25.3°

Meeting set on possible watershed group

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Catherine W. Idzerda
April 27, 2011
— Drive from Orfordville to the outskirts of Monroe and you’ll cross at least three creeks, several little creek branches and a handful of waterways that show up only during the spring melts.

But if you asked a motorist to name any of creeks, they would probably draw a blank. Most people take those natural features for granted.


A new group hopes to change that. From 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, a committee hoping to form a “Lower Sugar River Watershed Association” is hosting a public meeting at Memorial Public Library, 1207 25th St., Brodhead.


We’re reaching out to everybody,” said Susan Lehnhardt, organizer. “We want to bring as many people as we can to the table.”


Anyone who is in any way connected to the river and the lands surrounding it is invited: Anglers, bird watchers, conservationists, economic development and tourism officials, boaters, farmers and hunters.


Lehnhardt is an ecologist with Applied Ecological Services, the Brodhead-based company that works nationwide as ecological consultants and land restoration specialists. Lehnhardt and a handful of her co-workers who live in the area came up with the idea for the watershed group. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages volunteer groups to take on such preservation and promotion efforts.


A watershed is the area that surrounds a river and includes the streams and other waterways that flow into it.


To get people’s ideas, the committee is asking people to take a brief survey on its website, www.lsrwa.org.


“We really want to get people’s vision for the watershed,” Lehnhardt said. “As we develop and grow, we can focus on the issues and concerns people have. “


At Saturday’s meeting, ecologist and author Steven Apfelbaum will showcase the watershed and talk about its features. Megan Philips, director of the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, also will speak.


After the meeting, the committee is offering four optional outings to local Sugar River natural areas. Destinations include Swenson Wet Prairie State Natural Area/Avon Bottoms, Ten Eyk’s Orchard/Sugar River Bluff, the Magnolia Bluff Savanna Restoration and the Sugar River Forest Preserve.



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