A favorite destination for gardeners, bird lovers and nature photographers will be cut down today (Sunday) as a result of the requests of three Advisory Parks Board members.
At issue for Advisory Parks Board members Megan Schuessler, Bill Gogolewski and chair Terry Wohler is the height and appearance of the native restoration site near the base of Ames Point. Their complaints were voiced at the August 14, 2017 Advisory Parks Board meeting, where parks volunteer Michelle Bogden presented an update on the restoration site and expanded programming.
“It (the restoration site) looks the most unkempt I’ve seen,” said board member Schuessler. “It needs to be trimmed to be honest.”
Board member Bill Gogolewski added, “If that stuff was in my neighbor’s yard, I’d be calling the city.”
Board chair Wohler said the site looked like it was growing trees, referring to the tallest native flowers. “The way it is now, that looks terrible.“
The site will remain in place for the time being, though Parks Director Ray Maurer said without change he believes the board will likely request removal of the site.
The cutting request and suggestion of removal comes less than a week after Winnebago County issued a water quality warning for blue-green algae, which is caused by high levels of nutrients in the lake. According to the Wisconsin DNR, natural shorelands is one of the key actions to take to improve water quality. Water quality was not discussed by the board at the meeting.
Removal of natural shorelands is also identified by the Wisconsin DNR as the leading cause of species endangerment. According to the DNR, 80% of endangered species in Wisconsin are endangered of becoming extinct because we have removed their shoreland habitat. These species use this important habitat for the majority of their life. The Menominee Park restoration site is host to two known Wisconsin endangered species, Purple Milkweed and the Marsh Phlox.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students conducted a study in 2016 of the site, surveying park users on their opinion of the restoration. 82% percent of respondents reported favoring the site. This support is consistent with prior feedback received by the city.
According to parks volunteer Michelle Bogden, “The problem with doing that (cutting the plants) at this time in the season is that the pollinators, the bees and butterflies, use and need the flowers that we would be removing.”
The League of Women Voters, Winnebago Audubon, and Wild Ones joined several residents at the meeting in voicing their support for the site. No residents spoke out against the site at the meeting.