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Sweet Water Highlights Educational Signs at Bog

Sweet Water – Collaborating to secure healthy and sustainable water resources throughout the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds.

Fall 2012 Issue Rivers Report

Follow this link and scroll to Page 4The fall issue of the Rivers Report is now available on-line. This issue highlights Sweet Water's Water Quality Mini-grant Program with stories about three successful mini-grant projects, including the educational signage project undertaken by the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog at the Highway 33 entrance to the Bog.

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Bog Friends Wins Conservation Partnership Award

The Friends of the Cedarburg Bog has received a 2012 Wisconservation Award from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin as this year's Outstanding Conservation Partner.

The award recognized the Friends group, organized in 2005, for its "incredible commitment to the Natural Re¬sources Foundation of Wisconsin, and to the protection of our state's lands, waters, and wildlife."

The foundation presented the award at its annual Celebration of Conservation event on Sept. 20 in Madison. It was accepted by Friends board President Carl Schwartz, Field Station Director Jim Reinartz, and DNR Property Manager Andy Krueger.

The Cedarburg Bog was designated a State Natural Area in 1952. Only the second property added to this program, it is owned primarily by the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which maintains its Field Station there. The State Natural Area has grown to 1,656 acres today.

The uniqueness of the bog's natural history has been recognized by its inclusion in the Wisconsin Natural Area System, and it also is registered as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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Bat Hike Shows Off Bats and Technology

Bill Mueller, a scientist at the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, led 22 participants on a two-hour bat hike at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Field Station at the Cedarburg Bog on the evening of Aug. 27.

The event, the second sponsored by the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog this summer, was co-led by Friends Board President Carl Schwartz, who discussed the role the Friends played in acquiring the ANABAT acoustic bat detection device that was used to locate approximately 35 individuals of 2 species (Little Brown Bat and Big Brown Bat) on a walk from the Field Station down Blue Goose Road and out to Mud Lake.

The screen on the device -- purchase of which was made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Energy Foundation -- displayed each individual's acoustic signature.
Bats use echolocation to navigate the night skies and to hunt. As the word suggests, bats emit ultrasonic pulses of sound that bounce off of both their prey and stationary objects in their landscapes, and they monitor the sounds that return to them.

Not all bats worldwide use echolocation, but all Wisconsin bats do, and although there are similarities in the patterns of some calls, Wisconsin bats can be identified to species by their sounds using technology like the ANABAT.

The upper limit of human hearing is about 20 kiloHertz (kHZ), but these high frequency bat vocalizations range from 14 kHz to more than 100 kHz.

A Common Nighthawk buzzed the group as they set out from the Field Station, and later in the evening some hikers also were fortunate enough to hear a Barred Owl and an Eastern Screech-Owl.

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Owl Prowl Was a Hoot

Thirty-five Friends of the Bog turned out on the evening of Oct. 19 for what is proving to be one of our most popular fall and winter events. The fall version of our Owl Prowl yielded at least three species for those who were patient and in the right place at the right time. Perhaps it's the very elusiveness of these nocturnal creatures that explains why the event is so popular.

The field trip was led by John O'Donnell, Tom Uttech, Mary Holleback and Carl Schwartz -- all members of the board of directors for the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog -- and began with an indoor look at preserved specimens of the species and recordings of their calls. The group then walked from the UWM Field Station along Blue Goose Rd., where we heard one vocalizing Saw-whet Owl and one vocalizing Eastern Screech Owl, before splitting into two groups that drove north and south.

The south group, led by O'Donnell, got good looks at a Barred Owl near Pleasant Valley Rd. and heard it calling back and forth with its mate. The usually dependable pair of Great Horned Owls in that same area failed to respond to our recording of their calls.

The north group, led by Uttech and Holleback, had exciting looks at a gray Screech Owl just a few feet away along St. Finbars Rd. Tom's report:

"It called from far back in the woods for a long time but we were able to coax it right up to us. It was fun to watch it looking everywhere for the taped call, but never at us even though we were shining a light on it and giggling nearly uncontrollably. It flew across the road and we giggled some more and then it began calling again. We struck out on the Barred Owls that live near me and when all that we roused by our recordings were two terrified Morning Doves right next to us we decided to call it a night.

Under discussion is scheduling an Owl Prowl in August when there seems to be maximum owl activity, but when we'd have to start out much later in the evening. Your feedback is invited; just click on the email icon at the beginning of this article.

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Treasures of Oz draws a big crowd to hike the Bog

bog kioskThe 2012 edition of Treasures of Oz helped introduce more than 100 Wisconsin residents to what it correctly labeled "A State of Wisconsin Treasure."

 
The Cedarburg Bog -- owned and managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee -- played host to 105 visitors on Saturday June 16 as the third annual celebration of the treasured gems of Ozaukee County invited folks to visit eight sites along the Milwaukee River and selected inland bogs and marshes.
 
It was the second time the 1,656-acre Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area has been part of the event, with the cooperation of the Friends of Cedarburg Bog. This conifer swamp, the largest example of the least abundant type of wetland in southeast Wisconsin, contains large expanses of cedar-tamarack swamp forest, in addition to marshes, shrub carr, swamp hardwoods, and both deep and shallow bog lakes. It also contains what may be the southernmost string bog in North America.

Despite the heat and humidity, turnout at the Bog was triple the attendance of 2010. Visitors were able to hike a half-mile, ADA-compliant trail to beautiful Watts Lake. The site includes interpretive signs and the unveiling of a new eight-panel information kiosk devoted to the geology, history, geography and biology of the Bog. Members of the Bog Friends' board of directors and other volunteers offered guided walks covering a wide range of flora, fauna and natural history.

Ozaukee County is fortunate to have close to 30% of its acreage in wetlands, providing rich wildlife habitat while providing water filtration, water recharge and flood control. Wetlands can be mysterious and we are highlighting several very unique examples, which you will find are home to a myriad variety of flora and fauna - a veritable treasure chest of wonders. The day is an opportunity for hiking, photography, geocaching and learning. 
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