Friday, October 10, 2008

A Field Day at Gordon Creek

As part of an ongoing documentary film project, we spent a gorgeous fall day out on Gordon Creek this week. With blue skies and some quiet, I could not ask for a better day to be out on a creek. Having a third grader at home who loves bugs and worms and other cool things, the pleasures of small things close to the ground are front of mind for me. With both still and video, I almost always am lucky enough to find something small and up close that I used to just pass by. Today was
Fuzzy Caterpillar

The Farmer's Almanac says something about fuzzy caterpillars and the oncoming winter
no exception. Thanks to my third grader's gift of perspective I saw this little black and orange fuzzy caterpillar on a road trip. Not sure where it was going but it was putting the energizer bunny to shame.

My fuzzy 100 leg friend was just the start of a great afternoon. We were out on Gordon Creek to walk it with Kathleen Falk, the Dane County Executive, and an enthusiastic caster of flies. Jim Gentry and Mike Schmidt from the Southern Wisconsin chapter of Trout Unlimited were along for the walk as well. Today was a big day for Dane Country as they were announcing another land purchase along Gordon Creek. It was a big day for SWTU and Quietwater as it was a chance to get some time with a major player in the stream restoration activities in western Dane county. I continue to be impressed with the effort that goes on behind the scenes in stream restoration. It looks to me like about 95% of the effort happens between people and across tables, sometimes even coffee is involved.
Stream Restoration
Two critical pieces of stream restoration - people who care about the land and the machine that does the last 5% of the work.
Jim Gentry and Mike Schmidt, from SWTU, have spent countless hours writing grant proposals, learning their way through the vast spaces of restoration infrastructure, meeting landowners, and working with numerous levels of government. Finally they swing a hammer and get to build a few lunker structures, although not as many as one might think. The end result is a stream left in better shape than it was when they started.

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