Saturday, December 5, 2020
A home and business just off Hwy. 27 in Leon owned by Brian Hanson was underwater after the Little La Crosse River topped its banks following heavy rains in the July 2017 flood. Herald file photo.

County’s Climate Change Task Force to hold watershed info meeting in Leon August 4th

The Monroe County Climate Change Task Force (MCCCTF) will be holding an informational meeting on weather monitoring stations for the Little La Crosse River Watershed. The meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 4. at 7 p.m. in the Leon Community Center, 20638 Jameson Rd. Sparta.

The meeting will have presentations on:

• Flooding in the watershed/What can we do? 

• MCCCTF update 

•Weather monitoring equipment

• How can residents living in the watersheds participate?

There also will be a question and answer period.

The meeting along with another for the Kickapoo River Watershed held last week, were originally planned for June but had to be postponed due to the Severe Risk Compass level for COVID-19.

Both the Kickapoo and Little La Crosse watersheds have experienced severe flooding over the past few years, which was the impetus for the formation of the MCCCTF in Sept. 2019.

According to Bob Micheel, Monroe County Land Conservation Department Director and head of the MCCCTF, the number-one goal of the task force is to establish weather monitoring stations in the watersheds. That will be done in cooperation with the National Weather Service and local emergency management coordinators to provide early, flood warnings to those living in the watersheds.

Over the past months, task force members have selected the equipment that will best serve its purposes but will be looking for donors to help fund the purchase of the equipment.

The stations use cellular modems to transmit “real-time” data every 15 minutes, which can be viewed remotely by users through a web browser of mobile app service. Emergency alerts notifications can be sent out by those monitoring the systems through both texts and emails.

Micheel said the county has seed money for the project but has established a segregated account for tax deductible donations. The fundraising goal is $100,000, which would provide money for the equipment, data service and maintenance.

Donations can be sent to:

Kickapoo Valley Association

Attn: Scott Lind – Treasurer 

PO Box 103

Ontario, WI 54651

All proceeds will be redirected to the MCCCTF for equipment purchases. 

The task force is working in partnership with the Kickapoo Valley Association and any donations can be sent to 

Those attending the meetings are asked to practice safe health guidelines due to COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing face coverings.

 

Wilton first donor to county’s climate change project

 

By Sarah Parker

County Line Editor

 

Making a $4,000 donation, the Village of Wilton recently was the first contributor toward an effort to buy flood-monitoring equipment for the Kickapoo Watershed, noted Monroe County Conservationist Bob Micheel at the county’s Climate Change Task Force presentation in Wilton last week. 

The Kickapoo Valley Association and the task force have partnered on the project, which calls for two weather stations, 16 sensor level stations, data service and maintenance. The fundraising goal is $100,000. 

The monitoring devices will be coordinated with emergency management departments and the National Weather Service. 

Monroe County also has budgeted $5,000 for the project. 

Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to the Kickapoo Valley Association, Attn: Scott Lind – Treasurer, P.O. Box 103, Ontario, WI 54631.  

For more information, go to http://www.co.monroe.wi.us/committees/climate-change-task-force/.

Climate change cause for heavy floods

Speaking at the Wilton meeting, Micheel said that climate change, whether one accepts that it’s created by humans or by other causes, is the reason for heavy rains and more severe flooding. 

“What nature’s doing is reclaiming the valley floor,” Micheel said. “Is that a problem? It’s a problem when humans get comfortable with the valley floor. It’s really level, easy to work in. We forget why and how they get created.”

The result is dams and structures get blown out, cropland and lawns become saturated/flooded, basements are flooded, and roads and other infrastructure fail. 

Moreover, conservation practices fail, Micheel added. “We come up with prescriptions or practices that we design based on a 10- or 20-year storm event. The problem then is these storm events are eating up our solutions.” 

For example, floodwaters in the county have washed out streambank stabilizations and grass waterways. “These just turn into speedbumps in these kind of storm events.”

Formation of CCTV

The destruction of a concrete stream crossing on a Brush Creek farm on July 3, 2019, served as the impetus for the creation of the Climate Change Task Force. 

After five inches of rain in 90 minutes, the newly constructed crossing had been mostly washed away. 

“I knew we had to change what we were doing,” Micheel said. 

County Administrator Tina Osterberg, also a task force member, added, “We can’t continue to do what we’ve been doing. At this point, all we’ve been doing is reacting to the floods as they happen.”

The Climate Change Task Force was created in September 2019. 

Monitor-station planning

In the Kickapoo River Watershed, the following locations and equipment are proposed:

• Village of Norwalk – Railroad Street crossing: water-level sensor

• Village of Wilton – Highway 71: water-level sensor (establish rain gauge in Village of Wilton)

• County Highway Z: water-level sensor, rain gauge sensor

• County Highway T crossing: water-level sensor

• Village of Ontario, USGS Gauge Station (currently installed) – data sharing

• St. Mary’s Ridge: rain-gauge sensor

• County Highway U – Helgren farm: Weather Underground registered personal weather station (currently)

• Nevada Road – Firefly Ranch: Weather Underground registered personal weather station (currently installed)

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876
Email: 
news@monroecountyherald.com

 

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