LOWER WISCONSIN RIVERWAY - Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) held a brief meeting last week in Sauk City, at La Mexicana restaurant. At the meeting, they heard about an upcoming study regarding the importance of groundwater to water quality in the Lower Wisconsin Riverway.
“A key finding of the borrow pit study is that for protecting Lower Wisconsin State Riverway oxbow lakes, groundwater is everything,” Science Committee member Dave Marshall said. “Groundwater dominates floodplain lake water quality, and when polluted by nitrates, water quality degradation follows.”
Marshall explained that the borrow pit is a seepage lake that receives mostly clean groundwater recharge originating on Blackhawk Ridge.
“We find polluted oxbows elsewhere along the Riverway where the groundwater becomes contaminated from river terrace industrial scale agriculture and heavy applications of nitrogen fertilizers and liquid manure applications,” Marshall explained.
The study was conducted by the FLOW Science Committee, a group of retired DNR Scientists who continue to volunteer their time to study and protect water quality and species diversity on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. Funding for the study came from Dane County, who give $600 for water quality testing. The study was conducted with all volunteer labor and will be released soon.
The winner of the borrow pit lake naming contest will be announced soon. The winning name will be forwarded to the DNR committee on place names.
Dave Krueger, FLOW volunteer with the ‘Kids Don’t Float’ kiosk program reported that all life vests have been withdrawn from the kiosks up and down the river, and stored for the winter.
Timm Zumm reported on an incident he had responded to on Sunday, Oct. 16, at Peck’s Landing near Spring Green.
“I have eyes everywhere on the Riverway, and one of my friends called me to report that a vehicle had driven out on a sandbar and gotten stuck,” Zumm said. “I think of this as a ‘teachable moment,’ where people understand that driving out on sugar sand on a sandbar on the River is not a good idea.”
Zumm said that he and his friend started to render assistance to the group of 20-year-olds by digging out the tires, and deflating them slightly.
“I was hoping it was only buried up to the axle, but it turned out it was buried up to the frame,” Zumm said. “We called a tow truck, but they refused to drive out on the sandbar, and it basically came to using a shovel to dig them out.”Zumm said that before it was all said and done, the DNR Warden had become involved, and the individuals received both a fine from the DNR and a hefty bill from the tow company.
Zumm reported that the event season is wrapping up for FLOW this season. He said he had taken ‘Flo the Paddlefish’ to a recent open house event at Taliesin.
“Taliesin is open to the general public for free very often, so it was a nice opportunity for families to get out and enjoy the property,” Zumm said. “The kids loved Flo, and Allison Scoien and I got to talk to lots of people about FLOW’s work.”The next meeting of the FLOW board will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., at a location to be determined. No meeting is currently planned for December, and the FLOW Annual Meeting will take place in January where the 2022 Riverway Champion award will be announced.