Lakeshore TU is very active in educational activities and stream restoration and maintenance. Since 1996 our chapter, in conjunction with the DNR, has been working on the Onion River in Sheboygan County. To date, it is estimated that we have worked on five miles of stream including 3 miles on the Onion River and 2 miles of its feeder streams Mill and Ben Nutt creeks. Our work started by acquiring the headwaters of both Mill and Ben Nutt creeks and removing a total of fifteen dams on these properties. The removal of the dams allowed ponds to drain and the streams to cool. The stream beds were then returned to their natural state to promote natural spawning areas. Our work, downstream, on the Onion River, has included the placement of more than 400 lunker structures on over 80 sites along with stream narrowing, rock placement, weirs and wing-dams.
To make it possible to do this work Lakeshore TU has raised and spent over $500,000 and contributed approximately 6,000 volunteer hours. The state, through the DNR and the Stewardship Fund, has spent about $4 million on land acquisition and easements. The DNR has also committed another $150,000 of trout stamp money over the years. Recently, Lakeshore TU has established a trust fund, Onion River Keepers Fund, which will be used to help maintain the river in the future. The fund balance stands at about $80,000 and is still growing.
All sections of the river that have been improved are either on public land or private land which has a fishing easement on it making it available to the trout fishing public.
In the fall of 2008 the DNR reclassified all of Mill and Ben Nutt Creeks and the stretch of the Onion River from county N upstream to Class I trout streams. This indicates that these streams contain naturally reproducing wild trout and they do not require stocking. In the latest shocking survey results it was found that from 1997 to 2006 the trout population has increased over ten fold. Many Lakeshore members who fish the river regularly feel that since 2006 the rivers population has increased even more.
Lakeshore TU is also very big on education. Each February we teach a four week course on fly tying. You will also find Lakeshore members at several area schools, during the year, helping instruct students on both fly-casting and fly-tying. We can also be found at many area conservation shows promoting trout fishing and fly-tying and fly-casting.
Every year we also hold a conservation banquet as a fund raiser. All profits either go towards stream improvement work, educational activities or other worthy conservation projects. We are always looking for new members who would like to get involved. If you are one of those people come to one of our meetings or contact one of our officers.