Onion River Project Report

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EDTU joined forces with Wisconsin's Lake Shore Chapter to complete the next phase of the Onion River project. The Onion is a class I trout stream a little over 2 hours from Chicago.

The Webber Easement Summer 2012 Project included surveying the worksite in 2011, planning, acquiring permits and restoration work in 2012. The project was completed by the end of the day on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, after three and one half days of work. The in-stream restoration work included construction and installation of 10 LUNKER structures, two log weirs, two root-wads, several deep holes, placement of boulders in the stream, rebuilding the riverbank in two places where the river had developed cuts to side channels, preserving riffles and spawning beds, and reshaping the banks to reduce the risk of erosion.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) provided a fisheries biologist for planning and supervision, a backhoe, skid-steer, portable bridge, dump truck and trailer, along with three certified equipment operators and a supervisor/equipment operator trainer.

Through in-kind donations, Windway Capital Corp. provided planning coordination, grant writing services, a skid-steer, trailer, and fuel.

The Lakeshore Chapter of Trout Unlimited (LCTU) provided an average of nine volunteers each day and funding for materials, and supplies. Volunteer labor hours totaled 315, at a value of $20/hour the total value to the project was $6,300.

Revenue for expenses came from the Trout & Salmon Foundation, Wisconsin Friends of Trout Unlimited, the Elliott Donnelley Chapter of Trout Unlimited and funds raised by the LCTU.

Upon completion, this section of the river now has increased water velocity, with deeper holes and a more open canopy which improved habitat for trout and their food sources. The work was designed to reduce damage to the river and meandering during spring floods and major rain events, limit erosion and structure was added in the river to provide cover protection for trout. This restoration effort used extreme caution to not disturb spawning beds and riffles. This effort will help to increase the number of trout and will provide better holding capacity in this section of the river.

The State of Wisconsin owns the land on both sides of this section of the Onion River and it is open to public access via the river corridor.