Here is what is happening in the Coulee Chapter.
The corona virus pandemic led to the cancellation of our last three chapter meetings and presentations. Sadly, we have also seen several other events we sponsor or volunteer also be cancelled: Cozad's Driftless 1Fly, Coon Valley Trout Fest, Tainter Creek Stream Day, work day with SEWTU at Esofea Park, and the Youth Outdoor Fest. It is disappointing that these outreach events didn't happen, we will prepare to be back with them all next year. Kristal Welter is already planning for the return of chapter meetings and guest presenters in the fall or whenever it is deemed safe to gather large groups again.
While our events didn't happen, our board met monthly over Zoom to take care of organizational business. We developed our committee structures to focus our work and also elected a new chapter president. Fred Spademan is the new Coulee Region leader and we are thrilled to have him at the top of our chapter. Fred has been a board member and constant volunteer and will do well in helping coordinate all we do. Many thanks to Rick Kyte and Cy Post for serving as co-presidents for the past year.
Other board business: We developed plans to find youth leaders for the chapter. We are also looking to continue our work with other TU chapters (Lee Wulff and Gary Borger chapters) to replace fence stiles to allow safe access to streams and maintain the integrity of landowner fences and relationships. We welcome tips on rickety stiles in the Coulee Region so we can place them on our work list. If you see a bad stile, email Dale Jonson at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also formalized a process to welcome new CRTU members with a personal email, phone call, or letter from members of our board. We have learned a lot from several of our board members participating in TU's online community forum and recommend other chapters do the same if you have not used this resource. Get started at tu.community.org.
This season our chapter is supporting more projects than ever before. While Wisconsin DNR’s habitat crew in our area is working only on flood repair projects, TUDARE and county-led projects are the only games in our town. Three are being carried out by TUDARE’s Paul Krahn and three more by Vernon County Land Conservation Department Technician Matt Albright. So far these projects are budgeted at $418,900. With our partners (including NRCS, Vernon County, Madison Fishing Expo, Cabelas/Bass Pro Shops, Orvis, Coon Valley Trout Fest, two memorial bequests to CRTU, and Friends of Wisconsin TU and chapters), we’ve assembled $394,000 so far. Our neighboring TU chapters have been great backers of these Driftless projects, and we thank Blackhawk TU, Southern Wisconsin TU, and the four Chicago chapters: Elliott Donnelly, Gary Borger, Oak Brook, and Lee Wulff. We are still waiting on a couple of requests and grants and are both hopeful they will come through and grateful to all who have. Our own chapter contributed $28,300, and we’re grateful to everyone who has supported our fund-raising. We expect work to begin by press time and hope to complete projects on Warner, Conway, Citron, Esofea, Norwegian Valley and Knapp creeks this season. All projects will have permanent public fishing access.
If you care to make a donation to our chapter for any of our ongoing stream projects or our work with youth and veterans, you can do so here at our secure PayPal site.