WISCONSIN RIVER - The Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) held a board meeting virtually on Wednesday, Jan. 5. Chairing the meeting was Don Golembiewski, who took over as interim president of the board after long-time president and founder Timm Zumm stepped down.
Zumm, who now chairs their Riverway Safety Committee, reported on the addition of two new life vest loaner kiosks to the organization’s network in the Riverway. The group, working with the Wisconsin DNR (WDNR) and municipalities along the river, has spearheaded the creation of the life vest loaner kiosks in order to promote safety on the Lower Wisconsin River. A group of dedicated FLOW volunteers maintain the availability of loaner life vests at the kiosks during the canoeing season.
The two locations are in Avoca and Wauzeka. In Wauzeka, the kiosk is part of the community’s recently completed boat landing improvement project, and Zumm stated that he hopes that members of that community can be enlisted to help maintain the kiosk there. Zumm says that initially, the kiosks in those communities will be stocked with life vests supplied by WDNR and other private donations.
Golembiewski said that he had recently received a donation of $250 and two life vests from the Small Mouth Bass Association. Another FLOW volunteer present at the meeting reported that canoe company Rutabaga had recently donated five life vests as well.
“I’m working with WDNR to try to get steel signs made for the kiosks, and to replace signs at other kiosks that are starting to show some wear,” Zumm reported. “If we aren’t able to work with WDNR on steel signs, then we will explore other local suppliers that make signs out of other materials like plastic.”
Zumm also reported that Dave Marshall, a retired WDNR employee and member of the FLOW Science Team, had recently received a grant to fund a fish survey in a lake formed by a borrow pit along Highway 78, north of Mazomanie.
Golembiewski reported that the group’s annual meeting will be held on Saturday, Feb. 5. The meeting will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. At that meeting the membership will elect new board members, and the recipient of the 2022 Riverway Champion award will be announced.
Golembiewski reported that he and Timm Zumm are interviewing candidates for the board, and will forward their recommendations to the current board before the annual meeting.
Golembiewski reported that the Activity Committee had formulated a proposed list of ‘FLOW Field Trips’ for 2022. The field trips will be held outdoors to allow safe participation in the face of the ongoing COVID pandemic and uncertainty about what the upcoming spring, summer and fall will bring.
Some of the topics for the planned field trips include:
• Fish electroshocking with Science Team member John Lyons
• Bird watching
• Night sky watching
• Insects in the Riverway
• How to buy a canoe, presented by the owner of Rutabaga
• Native American Effigy Mounds with Mark Cupp, Executive Director of the Lower Wisconsin RiverwayLook for more information, and dates and times on the Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway website.