It’s becoming a tradition for Trout Unlimited Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter #078 to close out their workday schedule for the year at the Scuppernong River. The Buckthorn Man documented a little of the history of this great organization after their last therapy session on the river back on December 6, 2014. These guys are passionate about trout fishing and dedicated to improving the health of the local trout streams.
I met the DNR River Doctors back in February 2013.
Ok, they aren’t really doctors, they’re “only” Fisheries Biologists and Technicians, but metaphorically speaking, they do heal trout streams and they shared their skills with the willing and able volunteers from Trout Unlimited — transforming them into “Trout Stream Therapists.”
The headwaters of the Scuppernong River are still recovering from the human interventions that created THE PONDS OF THE SCUPPERNONG.
Submerged for over 120 years, the original river bed was all but lost. Immediately below the upper pond, shown above, was another embankment that created the lower pond, the site of a sawmill, cheese factory and finally, a hotel. Downstream from there, where the “big bend” points the river west, they built a goldfish farm.
It’s a long journey back to Class I Trout Stream for the Scuppernong River, and the kind of work that the DNR coordinated with Trout Unlimited last Saturday is slowly but surely going to: “fix the water”, as Tracy Hames, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, would say. As of now, the headwaters of the Scuppernong River is still a Class II Trout Stream, but we have seen a lot of habitat improvements made over the last couple years and the fish counts improved in 2015.
My right hand is still healing from surgery for Dupuytren’s Contracture (Ben and “Gus” had offered to straighten it out for me), so I enjoyed shadowing Ben as he visited the work sites. I’ll document them in the order that we encountered them that morning, including video, and before and after pictures for each site.
We did not have enough biologs to accomplish all of the original goals and Ben and Gus made the call that it would take too long get another load from off-site. Below, Josh and Gus saw an area just upstream from the gaging station bridge, that was not on Ben’s plan, to do a little therapy.
#6 & #7 We did not get to.
Since The Buckthorn Man cut all the brush, it’s pretty slim pick’ins to fill in behind the biologs. Ben suggested we wait for winter and use a sled to drag brush over from some distant piles.
#4 We did not get to
#3 The Big Bend
#1 The Hotel Springs
#9 Downstream from gaging station bridge
A brush piling brigade!
#11 The Marl Pit Bridge
We celebrated the last workday of the year with another classic Trout Unlimited brat fry.
Thanks again to everyone who participated. We got a lot done — it was a great day.
See you at The Springs!