April 8, 2009 FBR meeting, featuring “Islands of the Black River”
Do you know who owns the islands you encounter as you paddle the Black River? Are you a river user with knowledge to share about your favorite island fishing, lunch or camping stop? Derek Strohl of the Bureau of Land Management was here to answer questions and seek information about BLM islands on April 8th at 7PM at the Friends of the Black River monthly meeting at the BRF CCU.
“Islands of the Black River” is FBR Topic in April
Do you know who owns the islands you encounter as you paddle the Black River? Are you concerned about who cares for your favorite island lunch or camping stop? Derek Strohl of the Bureau of Land Management was on hand to answer these questions and more on April 8th at 7PM at the Friends of the Black River monthly meeting. He also looked for input from local paddlers and river users familiar with islands on the Black.
In his presentation Derek explained many of these islands are refuges for eagles and other creatures that benefit from their intact canopies and the protection from predators and easy access to prey that are provided by water on all sides.
It turns out that, as an artifact of the original survey of the Northwest Territory, several hundred islands in several of our large rivers remain in federal ownership. The surveyors were instructed to pass by any island that was too small to be useful for agriculture or other developed use. These islands were therefore never sold to private landowners or granted to the State of Wisconsin when it formed.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reaching out to watershed organizations, other government agencies, local communities, and other stakeholders in river and watershed management in an effort to determine how best to manage these islands for the benefit of the wildlife, the paddlers, and the rivers that are continually building and reshaping them.
BLM is already developing invasive species control plans for the BLM’s eleven federally-owned islands on the Milwaukee River. Several hundred more such islands are in the Menominee, Peshtigo, Oconto, Sheboygan, Fox (Illinois), Rock, Wisconsin, Black, Chippewa, and Flambeau Rivers.
Derek is an Ohio native with a Land Resources degree from the UW-Madison. He has worked with the WDNR, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and in the private sector. For three years he served as program director for the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.
Strohl has recently finished a GIS based inventory of all Wisconsin’s river and lake islands. He has identified approximately 500 islands totaling about 2600 acres. Nearly fifty of the BLM islands are in the Black River in Clark, Jackson and Trempealeau counties. Derek is particularly interested in islands with high recreational use, unique habitat, rare species or cultural or historic significance.
This was a program many enjoyed, especially those of you who care about the Black River islands, have experience with them or wanted to know more. Available were slides and maps of BLM islands and history and future of these islands. The meeting was free and open to the public. Visit www.friendsoftheblackriver.org for information on this and other FBR events.
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