Stop draining the Sheboygan Marsh

Gary Henschel • Henschel’s Indian Museum &Trout Farm


THE MARSH DRAWDOWN is in progress. Several feet of water has left the marsh and more will drain before it reverts to a stream. - Photo by Les Tension THE MARSH DRAWDOWN is in progress. Several feet of water has left the marsh and more will drain before it reverts to a stream. - Photo by Les Tension Recently I was cutting bull thistles out of my cow pasture overlooking the Sheboygan County Marsh.

All summer pelicans have been making their home there. That would mean there is a lot of life in the marsh for them to feed on.

It was cloudy that day and a little misty. Suddenly the sun started to shine and frogs started to sing.

I made a conscious effort to listen and watch. In that moment about 60 pelicans started coming out of the marsh and making a large circle above me. I never saw a pelican in the marsh until this year.

Among the pelicans two turkey vultures joined in the circle. At that moment I heard the chatter of an osprey and looked up to see a fish in its talons, and it circled above me six or seven times!

I wondered why it didn't land and eat the fish. The osprey flew over to my right and out of the sky to my left appeared a bald eagle and it too started circling above.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, a flock of sandhill cranes flew across the marsh and the sound of their voices bounced off the water and echoed across the marsh.

This whole incident happened in about 30 minutes. I was overwhelmed and raised my hands to thank the Great Spirit for his awesome creation and all the life in the marsh.

Sadly, I realized at this moment, the water, the life blood of the marsh, was being sucked out at the bypass.

In a recent article this spring and I quote, "drawdown mimics natural drought cycles which occur in natural wetland ecosystems".

In my view a natural drawdown would mean it hadn't rained for a summer and the water table would have dropped about 8 inches or so.

The practice of a total drawdown would mean it didn't rain for a few years. That's NOT natural, that's an unnatural catastrophe.

Do we really have to take all the water out and kill almost everything in the marsh just to make more cattails?

If the Strategic Marsh Management Plan would have worked in the past decades, cattails wouldn't have had to be removed.

Never in the history of removing cattails have we taken out more.

It's time to ABANDON this plan. It DOESN'T work in this marsh.

If you're a conservation minded person or a bird watcher, fisherman, hunter, or trapper, this is your marsh ... why are you not speaking out on this?

I believe this awesome experience, that day in my cow pasture, told me to speak out for the creatures in the marsh.

Please close the bypass. This should never happen. It's just so, so WRONG.

If the Great Spirt moves you, please contact one or more of the agencies responsible for the welfare of the Sheboygan Marsh and ask them to please stop draining the marsh NOW.

• Wisconsin DNR: https:// dnr.wi.gov/contact/

• Sheboygan County Conservation Association: http:// sheboyganconservation.org/ contact-us/

• Ducks Unlimited: http:// www.ducks.org/wisconsin/wisconsin-du-staff

• Sheboygan County Board: www.sheboygancounty.com/ government/county-board


Readers Comments

Boy do I agree with you, my
Submitted by ndied@excel.net on Thu, 2018-08-02 20:32.
Boy do I agree with you, my father help get this marsh started many years ago, they dynamited to make the channels. Never has this marsh looked as bad as it does now, there has to be a better way to correct this mess, then these draw down every couple of years. We really need something or someone who knows how to manage this better, before it’s too late.
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