The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Black River Harbor closed until September


January 20, 2018

BESSEMER — Black River Harbor will be closed until September, according Tony Holland, a representative from the Ottawa National Forest, who spoke at the Gogebic Coservation District’s meeting Friday in Bessemer.

Gogebic Conservation District Administrator Jim Finley said Snow Country Construction had received a permit for work at Black River Harbor.

Holland said he expected the footbridge over the Black River to be accessible through the work.

Finley said Enbridge had received five permits for pipeline work in the county, adding he did not expect there to be much permit work over the next few months because of the weather.

Holland also said they hired three timber markers, one for Bessemer and two for Watersmeet, and that Ian Schackleford was returning from a short-term assignment in Montana. The capacity-filled room was pleased with that revelation.

Cory Magdziak, reporting for Greg Ryskey and the Gogebic County Forestry and Park Commisison, said they had eight sales in the last month and were working through 540 acres of select hardwoods. Magdziak said they were busy for this time of year.

Winona Grieshop, forester, provided an update to the group regarding her participation in deer collaring near the Little Girl’s Point deer complex. Grieshop said the Department of Natural Resources collared 54 deer and when asked questions regarding the operation, provided some deeper insight. Bucks are collared with a magnetic collar that stretches to accommodate neck swelling during the rut and smaller deer are collared with elastic that stretches as they mature.

The deer are not tranquilized, so their feet are hobbled to avoid being kicked and attach the collars.

The effort is to track the movement patterns of the deer between the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin regarding chronic wasting disease. Involved in the 10-minute process is also hair-clipping to detect if the U.P. deer are carrying a specific allele that allows the deer to act as “super carriers” and pass the disease on without being affected by it themselves.

Grieshop said the collaring efforts have moved to the Lake Gogebic deer wintering complex and from there will move to the west Iron County deer yard.

If people see the GPS and radio-collared deer, the numbers on their collars should be plainly visible and they can call them in to the conservation district for tracking purposes.

Under current business, the group decided to move the meetings from the third Friday each month to the second Tuesday at 6 p.m., which should better accommodate schedules and also enable greater participation from the public.

The district accepted an audit report from Roger Kolehmainen, CPA, who said they were in good shape fiscally and only had a handful of things to be in even greater compliance with best standards and practices. Jim Wojcik, director, agreed to come to the meetings a few minutes early and review the past months’ checks. This new policy is going into effect because of past practices of Ironwood Township and its recent struggles.

Another issue Kolehmainen pointed out that would help the group be in compliance would be use of a fire-proof filing cabinet for its documents. The meeting participants discussed fire-proof safes and how best to comply with the requirement since they are quite expensive. Finley found one for $1,049, but the group decided to table the purchase until the exact specifications could be ascertained.

Wojcik discussed the potential for creating a watershed restoration project for the Black River watershed. Mark Fedora, supervisory hydrologist for the Ottawa National Forest, broke into the discussion as the area’s primary driver of the effort in the U.P.

Fedora said U.S. Fish and Wildlife has set priorities for the area’s watersheds regarding brook trout habitat. A map Wojcik brought was passed around with the different watersheds identified and their priorities. Wojcik said he would like to see a library created in the Natural Resources Center with information on watersheds so the group would have a standard process for ingesting and learning about watersheds.

Ron Zaleski said he had spoken with Dave Rowe Thursday evening at the Bluff Valley Park event in city hall and Rowe had agreed that sometime in May, weather dependent, his Bessemer class would be available to work in the park. Zaleski said he would like to install benches along the path near the creek in the park and see some concrete culverts removed that are blocking the flow of the creek.

Chuck Frank raised the idea of sponsoring a fruit tree pruning workshop for the community. The group thought this was an excellent idea as the last time they had done this, around 40 people showed up.

Finley said he is applying for grants of about $7,500 to pay for habitat management. The money would pay for mowing in the GEMS ruffed grouse hunting sites and the Ketola Grade.

Marion True sought input regarding how to discourage deer from eating the butterfly plants in the Miners Memorial Park. Finley described how the use of a blood meal preparation that is sprayed will keep deer from eating where it’s sprayed. Finley said a man with a huge garden that fed multiple families sprayed it with the bloodworm solution and the deer did not touch the food.


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