Landowners restore Chequamegon BayMarengo River Valley landowner Elmer Lippo wanted ponds on his 80-acre parcel because his nephew wanted ponds, for deer. Lippo also wanted ponds — for ducks, mostly — and to do the right thing because rain runs through his fields and down a ravine that dumps into the Marengo River.
Marengo River Valley landowner Elmer Lippo wanted ponds on his 80-acre parcel because his nephew wanted ponds, for deer. Lippo also wanted ponds — for ducks, mostly — and to do the right thing because rain runs through his fields and down a ravine that dumps into the Marengo River.
According to the Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership (CBAP), sediment is the number one pollutant affecting the Marengo River and Fish Creek watersheds. The partnership is a coalition of local, state, federal and tribal agencies, governments, and nonprofits that have recently begun making inroads with landowners to restore wetlands in the region.
Lippo had heard from neighbor Charlie Ylitalo that he installed three ponds in a hayfield on his farm at no cost by working in cooperation with CBAP. Not long after, Lippo followed suit.
“Restoring wetlands like Charlie’s and Elmer’s is an important tool to reducing this problem,” said Matt Hudson, watershed action director for the Bad River Watershed Association (BRWA), which is a CBAP member.
The BRWA helped get the ball rolling by connecting Ylitalo to regional funding for conservation programs.
“Truth is, I wanted to make less hay,” said Ylitalo. “I always wanted ponds but needed help.”
Ylitalo and Lippo provided the inspiration behind efforts to secure grant funding to encourage landowner-agency partnerships in improving the watershed health of the Marengo River and Fish Creek watersheds. A combination of funding from the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Ashland County Land and Water Conservation Department financed construction of the two landowners’ ponds, as well as other wetland restoration projects in the Marengo River and Fish Creek watersheds.
The Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership is a coalition of federal, state and local natural resource agencies, tribes, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, county land and water conservation professionals, and Northland College staff and faculty. T
he Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College coordinates the partnership, which collaborates to provide more effective and efficient natural resource management in the Chequamegon Bay region of Lake Superior. For more information and a list of partners, visit the CBAP website at https://www.northland.edu/ cbap.htm.