Monday, September 16, 2019

Public session Tuesday on proposed changes to historic Kletzsch Park

It's time to stand up for Kletzsch Park. Again.

County officials will present their latest 'improvement' plan to excavate, chainsaw, pave over and otherwise 'improve' scenic Kletzsch Park along the Milwaukee River bank west of the well-known dam remnant at a public meeting Tuesday beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Glen Hills Middle School, 2600 W. Mill Rd., Glendale.

Conservationists, historic preservationists and anyone with a smidgen of common sense won't warm up to what the County has in mind.

What began as a plan to repair the dam 
and add a fish migration viewing stand has morphed into an unjustifiably extensive reconstruction that would cut down these and other pre-statehood oak trees 

and disturb an ancient Indian Prairie and graves noted by Increase Lapham, the legendary 19th-century naturalist and surveyor who recorded the area's unique features in 1850, two years after statehood.

Opponents are suggesting some options upriver which would not undermine the integrity of the riverbank, damage the character of the park or tamper with sacred lands. 

A core question comes to mind - - and it's the same one that underlies the possible contamination of the Menominee River and its sacred lands for a mining company, or the proposed sacrifice of a nature preserve, some state park acreage and rare dunes in Sheboygan for a luxury golf course, and in so many other battles for Wisconsin clean air, fresh water and precious lands:

Why such a lack of humility on the part of the decision-makers who would let such irreplaceable features be so abused?


Cheryl Nenn said...

The main purpose of the project is to provide fish passage for native fish that can't "jump" over these falls, which were constructed by the CCC. Salmon can jump, but they are not native and were introduced. Native fish such as walleye and pike can't get past this structure. We have removed 11 major dams in the watershed now, including Estabrook, and barriers like this one are an issue for improving our fish populations. Passage structures, like the one at Mequon-Thiensville, have worked well to pass fish while retaining a dam structure. Ideally, I'd rather see this dam removed, but the community loves it, so the purpose of this project is to try to find some common ground, while also improving the safety of the portage--people have died here--while also improving access. It's a project that's important if you want future generations to still be able to fish from our rivers and lakes. Note too that many lake fish, such as sturgeon, need to swim upstream in the river to be able to reproduce. So its also important for lake fisheries.

James Rowen said...

I appreciate Cheryl's comment. I sincerely hope the upstream option becomes the common ground.