Wow! What made the change ? 1937 this 1500 acre area is a “worthless” marsh ~ wetlands area known as the ‘London Marsh’ 1945 Mr. Felix Zeloski began the purchase of this wetland area realizing its potential for growing food crops with rich soil, available water, and the Great Northern Railroad crossing the territory 1946 draining of the wetlands began 1947 – 2003 root crops (potatoes – onions – carrots) were grown in this drained and then irrigated area
Woa! What happened..is this the same area ? In the mid 1990’s Mr. Dennis Zeloski (son of Felix) was approached regarding the sale of the farm to the Department of Natural Resources. Dennis was not interested in selling Having reached retirement age and experiencing an increase in the flooding of his farm fields Dennis was receptive to the potential sale of his farm when again approached in the early 2000’s The sale would entail nearly 1500 contiguous acres of highly organic soil which had for 60 years been the main area of the farm, located two miles west of Rock Lake at Lake Mills, Wi. A sale agreement was reached between Mr. Zeloski and the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), with the help of funding by the Madison Audubon Society and completed in 2004 This sale agreement would require the restoration of the former wetlands, a monitoring of the restoration area, and the transfer of the property to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This occurred this fall (2006)
Brief review of the history of the Zeloski Marsh Project 1944 the 1500 a. area located 2 miles west of Lake Mills, Wisconsin is a wetlands and marsh 1945 area is purchased by the Zeloski family 1946 natural area is drained 1947-2003 area is being cropped 2003 area is sold by Zeloski family for restoration 2004 – 2005 area is cash cropped (corn and soybeans) 2006 area restoration work begins with monitoring entering the second year of “pre-restoration phase”
Restoration Monitoring Research Project Under the requirements of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) the area being purchased and restored must be monitored for flora and fauna changes. Rock River Coalition (not for profit organization - utilizing volunteer citizen scientists to monitor conditions within the Rock River Basin) is awarded the responsibility and challenge of monitoring the marsh Bryan Huberty is hired to begin the monitoring study. Bryan will establish protocols, recruit volunteers, and begin monitoring activities
The Challenge of beginning a monitoring project: questions need to be answered what monitoring should be done what protocols should be used what areas should be studied when should monitoring occur who should be in charge who should do the actual work what should become of the data
Monitoring Studies are Implemented Floristic Large mammal Small mammal Aves Anuran [frog and toad] Odonata [damselfly and dragonfly] Lepidoptera [butterfly and moth]
New usage of wetlands begins ~ huntingeducation
What’s the next step ? A program director is hired ~ I’ve been on the job for a month! A new project manager is hired ~ She has been on the job for a week! Project undergoes scrutiny ~
Asking all the right questions : Who do I hire as the new project manager? Are we meeting the grant requirements? Are the surveys being done at the correct time? Are the surveys even the right ones? Are the survey protocols correct? Is the data being stored correctly? Is the data reaching the correct parties (utilization of data)? How do we recruiter volunteer citizen scientists (monitors) How do we train the volunteer monitors How do we retain the volunteers How do we find team leaders for each survey team?
Where do we find the funding? What equipment is needed? Where do we find the equipment? What about liability How do I work with the many partners in the project? ~ NRCS ~ Madison Audubon ~ former land owner and current neighbor ~ DNR ~ Jefferson County Conservation Dept. How will the monitoring project be effected by usage change?
I have none of the answers ! However, I hope I’m asking all the right questions. I also believe that at least one of you has an answer to at least one of my questions, and together all of my questions can be answered. After all isn’t that why we are hear: to net-work and ask questions? I excited about the conference because at least four of the break-out sessions directly apply to the questions I am asking! I challenge you not to be afraid to ask that question that is too embarrassing to ask … I believe I have all the questions so your not alone. Let’s enjoy lunch and begin net-working and asking all the right questions ! thank you