the monthly newsletter for people who live, work or play on the Upper Mississippi River
Waking from the Big Sleep By Pamela Eyden
Frogs and toads along the Mississippi River
follow two basic strategies to survive the winter: some hibernate and others freeze. But no matter how they spend winter, they all come roaring out of it about this time of year. When they wake up, their priorities are clear - first sex, then food. Chorus frogs, wood frogs, treefrogs and spring peepers, all of which live along the Mississippi, freeze nearly solid in the winter. Last fall they crawled into shallow depressions in the ground, curled up under a blanket of leaves and let the cold take over. Their hearts stopped beating. Their blood stopped moving. All liquid outside their cells froze. If you come across them in the winter, you might mistake them for rocks. Bill Schmid almost did. A University of Minnesota ecologist, Schmid went out looking for snails at the Elm Creek Park Reserve, just two miles from the Mississippi River near Champlin, Minn., and found semi-frozen frogs instead. He brought them back to his lab, warmed
If you come across them in the winter, you might mistake them for rocks. them slowly and they started singing. His discovery was first reported in the journal Science in 1982. Since then, researchers have tracked some of the physiological and biochemical details of how frogs freeze. Some frogs are equipped with a mechanism that pumps their cells full of glucose in the fall, as part of a "fight or
(Big Sleep continued on page 2)
Vol. 3, No. 4
Hubie and the Hawk By Lee Hendrix
At the beginning of a season on the Upper Mississippi a few years ago, we had orders to tow the tug Black Hawk with us up to Genoa, Wisconsin. The old Hawk was a comical appendage to us and our fifteen barge loads of coal, appearing much like a baby piglet nuzzling up to a mother sow. The only crew member on the Black Hawk was a swarthy-faced Badger named Hubie. He did not say too much and kept to himself, except to come over on the Ruth D. Jones with us for his meals. On these occasions, he would dive into his food with the gusto of a man who had given a fair day's work. By the time we reached Cassville, Hubie had the Hawk looking better than she probably had since they first dropped her in the water at Greenville. The only times that he would noticeably cease his labors of cleaning, souging, scraping and painting were when we would pass slowly by a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign on the river's bank. Then his hat would come off, revealing a reddish, balding head. He would mop his brow and longingly eye the tavern as if it
(Hubie continued on page 4)
(Big Sleep continued from page 1) flight" response to the stress of getting cold. Glucose, a sugar, prevents the liquid inside the cells from freezing, thus avoiding damage to the cell walls - expanding ice would rupture them. Ice forms, but only in between the cells. These frogs can tolerate glucose levels 60 times higher than would cause other frogs to go into diabetic shock. The frogs also tend to dehydrate some, so there's not as much water to freeze. Some amphibians just hibernate. American toads burrow down and hibernate below the frost line; they'll dig deeper if the ground around them freezes. Leopard frogs, bull frogs, pickerel and green frogs drift into deep water and lay quietly on the bottom. They swim about under the ice occasionally, if their chosen place starts to freeze or the oxygen level drops.
First Things First Frogs, toads, salamanders and snakes are all coldblooded. They depend on the warmth of spring to rouse them out of their long winter's sleep. After five or six
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months, what's the first thing they think about? "Their first item of business is survival of the species," said John Moriarty, Hennepin Parks wildlife specialist. "They go directly to the water and breed." In the Midwest, male frogs do the croaking, calling and singing. They vocalize to define territory and attract mates, and they make every effort to sing loudest and sound biggest. The frog that starts the chorus will usually be the biggest frog in the pond; the others may sound as though they're responding to him, but they're really just trying to avoid calling at the same time. Wood frogs and spring peepers are among the first to start moving around. They sing when water temperatures are in the 50s. (See the chart on the next page.) Spring peepers - tiny frogs about one inch long spend winters under logs and loose bark. They start singing when pussy willows are gray, even though ice may still cover the water. By the time pussy willows bloom with yellow flowers, their peeping swells to a jingle bell chorus. They breed over an extended period of time. Males keep singing, attracting females and fertilizing eggs until all the females have come and gone. Wood frogs, which live as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as the Weaver's Dunes area, near Wabasha, Minn., are called "explosive" breeders because they wake and breed all at once. Females, heavy with eggs, are attracted to the croaking chorus in the pond. They swim about together in a milling mass, gravid females and amorous males that are ready to latch onto anything of about the right size - a piece of wood, a human hand or another male. When a male climbs on her back, the female swims away to a quieter place where she can lay the eggs and he can fertilize them. En route, she may find that one mate's been kicked off by another, bigger frog. After she's laid all her eggs, she leaves the pond, while the male stays to try again. It takes about two weeks for this noisy, amphibian orgy to subside. Then wood frogs aren't heard from again until the next year. If you see a frog floating in quiet water during mating season with arms and legs spread wide, it's likely to be a northern leopard frog. (If you pick it up and stroke its back, it might "purr" or it might squirt a disagreeable smelling liquid at you.) The most studied frog in the north country, leopard frogs are very big in the bait industry. Pickerel frogs breed at about the same time as leopard frogs, when water temperatures reach the 50s and 60s. Late-rising bullfrogs, green frogs and mink frogs don' t sing and breed until the water is about 70 degrees.
The Odds Against Amphibians
Pickerel frogs emerge in late April.
Frog eggs usually turn into pollywogs in just a few weeks, but the transformation to adulthood may take longer - as long as three years for bullfrogs. Meanwhile, natural predators, such as fish, raccoons, snakes, turtles, minks, weasels and birds, take a heavy toll. Bullfrogs outside their normal range, escapees from commercial frog farms, also do a lot of damage. "Bullfrogs are big, and they'll eat anything that can fit in
their mouths, includwater 70°F water 50°F water 60°F ing other adult frogs," March May July April June I said Moriarty. "They've become a big Wood frog of raspy quacks problem in Chisago, Blue Earth, Stearns Chorus frog - a fingernail running acro~s comb teeth and Jackson [Minnesota] counties, even Spring peeper - jingle bells though they are not common in their natuLeopard frog!- guttural snoring, lqud chuckle or rapid ~roak like a wet finger on a balloon ral range in southeastern Minnesota." I Pickerel frog snore from water Now there's a new host of destroyers pollution, loss of habiToad - 30 seconds of pleasant, musical trilling tat, exotic predators I I and ultraviolet radiaCape's treefrog - hearty, resonating trilli tion. Since the mid-80s, .Cricket frog - measured clicking or jerk~, wooden clacking scientists have reported declines and I disappearances of Mink frog - low-pitched metallic croak, like hammering on a long nail many species that were once abundant. Green frog - deep, low-pitched plunkirg, like the twang of :a loose banjo string Rachel Carson titled her book on pesBullfr~g - deep pitched "J Lg o'rum, jug o'rum" ticides and chemical fertilizers Silent Spring, Frog Calling Calendar for the Upper Midwest referring to a spring without birdsong. But it might just as well refer to a spring directly from the publisher, University of Minnesota Press, without frogsong, too. (612) 627-1940 or 1-800-388-3863. "Yes, amphibian populations are declining, and humans For more information about frogs, read the article by are the reason," said Moriarty. "Habitat loss and pollution John Moriarty in the April issue of The Minnesota Volunteer, are the main factors, but it's complex. The effects of global the Minnesota DNR's magazine. The April Scientific Ameriwarming and acid rain have not been proved." can also features the story "Why Frogs are Vanishing." ~ Of the 48 species of amphibians and reptiles in western Wisconsin and Minnesota, little is known of 32. Research Pamela Eyden is assistant editor of Big River. funds are hard to find. Although a lot of agencies acknowledge that they should be doing more, they don't have funds or staff time. That's why volunteers do most of the frog surveys for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, state DNRs and the Minnesota Frog and Toad Survey. It's not bad work. In fact, it's perfect for people who work all day under fluorescent lights, in traffic-bound buildings. You just have to know the Pa'melaEyden assistant editor difference between your resonating trills, raspy quacks and 'Mdf1yMcGuire circulation. ,and marketing manager rolling snores - treefrogs, wood frogs and pickerels. 'subscripfipns are $4:f?;..fdFdh~year, $3 6, for ~\'Yo. years or $2 persirqjle issue ..Send $ Ptlons, single copy The Minnesota Herpetological Society will co-sponsor orders and change-ofs requests to Big "Minnesota's Amphibians and Reptiles: A Symposium on River, PO Box 747, Winona, MN 55987. their Conservation and Status" at the University of MinneSecond-class postage paid at Winon;1, MN. sota, on May 5 and 6. See the Calendar on page 8 for more POSTMASTER: send change- of- address r eques t s information. to Big Ri\/er, PO Box 747, Winona, MN 55987. The recently published Amphibians & Reptiles Native to £!,!g River, Volume 3, Numb.er 4, copyright ©April 7995. Minnesota, by Barney Oldfield and John Moriarty, contains 'Reproduction in vyhole or in part withou t written permission of thepublisher is prohibited. .. 256 pages of up-to-date information and up-close color photos of the 48 species found in the state. The hardcover book Printed on recycled paper. can be found in many bookstores or purchased for $25.95
(Hubie continued from page
were a temple. As I came on watch one afternoon, spring was beckoning to us through the budding of maple and oak left dormant so long by the Wisconsin winter. It was a warm day with puffy clouds floating like cotton candy balls on the pale blue face of the sky. I grabbed my first cup of coffee as we chugged past the lower power plant at Cassville. I was confident that Hubie was mesmerized by the friendly red, white and blue sign from the Old Deniston House Hotel in town and that he was counting the hours until we would safely deliver him and the Black Hawk to their home in Genoa. The stretch from Cassville to Lock 10 at Guttenburg is narrow and winding, affording no room to meet another boat. Therefore, I checked for traffic on the marine radio and, not hearing any response, figured they were either not there
The stretch from Cassville to Lock 10 at Guttenburg is narrow and winding, affording no room to meet another boat. or not talking, so I kicked my feet up to enjoy the day. Barring any difficulty, I could probably make it at least close to Prairie du Chien before 6 p.m. Soon, I was aware of another presence in the pilothouse. It was not unusual to see Amphetamine Bob's haggard face leering at me from the top of the pilothouse stairs. Bob made beautiful models of towboats from scratch and would often stay up two or three days finishing his latest masterpiece. From the size of the aperture in his eyeballs and the vigor with which he was gnawing on his pipestem, I could see that he was ready to engage me in conversation. He soon had me babbling with him about British strategy in the Falkland Islands War. Somehow during my reckless prattle with Bob, attention to duty was compromised. As Bob rambled about the efficiency of British naval equipment in cold weather, my steering rhythm was broken at Island 189, and I realized that I was going much too fast and had waited way too long to steer my 1,000-foot tow around the turn. As I witnessed the developing situation, Bob's ceaseless, frenetic conversation became an annoying background, like a bad piano chord played over and over again. I felt like wringing his neck, but was more irritated with myself. Somewhere in his soliloquy, he looked up to see the current take our lead barges and sweep them over the top of a rock dike, wedging them well out of the channel behind Island
189. In the middle of a sentence that started off about tactical air diversions, he changed to, "Oh, shit! What did you do? How ya gonna get out of this?" Beads of sweat that had formed like R.A.F. planes, queueing up to take off down my arm like good English aircraft would, began to soak my shirt as I formulated a strategy for trying to pull my barges back into the channel without breaking them all to hell. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was also formulating a plan for telling the captain, presently sleeping soundly in his bunk, how I ever got into this mess to begin with. "You want me to go down to my room and get my camera?" Bob asked, his voice still out of sync with what was transpiring. Unable to imagine for even a moment why I would want a souvenir photo of this scene, I flatly, quietly said, "No." In my estimation, Bob was lucky to still be alive and I momentarily flashed on him being strafed in a frozen foxhole on the Malvinas by Argentine air fire. "You might want it for insurance purposes, for the salvage team when they come. This is gonna be a mess. Oh, shit, what are you gonna do?" he raved. I was fortunate that the Ruth D. Jones is such a good boat because I was able to back the barges slowly off the ground. The tricky part would come when I would have to straighten them back out. Picking up some sternway, I tried to lever the tow back into the channel, but in so doing I was forced to back my stern toward the island. The water was extremely
I heard the crack of timber around me, as the head of the tow swung back out into the channel and we were freed! high and I knew that my stern would probably intrude right into the trees. I had to take that chance, however, because if I missed this time there was no telling if I could get out again . I heard the crack of timber around me, as the head of the tow swung back out into the channel and we were freed! I took the opportunity to get rid of Bob, telling him to go out to check all of the barges for potential damage. "Want me to take pictures?" he asked . Clearing my throat, which felt as if my plumbing had backed my bowels up against gravity, I merely hissed a mild negative response and ushered the maniac out of the pilot house. It was only then that I looked down at the poor old Black Hawk, still hanging along our starboard side. Hubie was standing in the middle of a scene that looked for all the world as if we had driven through a storm of branches and limbs. It seemed as if half of the timber in Wisconsin had taken residence on what had minutes before been his
!. en he
brightly cleaned vessel. I could imagine the scrapes, tears, bent flag poles and hand rails, and broken windows. As happy as I was that real catastrophe had been averted, it was a sobering afternoon for me as I attempted to reconcile how I had ruined all this man's efforts through my negligence. When I went down to the galley for supper, our miniadventure was the hot topic of discussion. Hubie sat quietly at the end of the table as I fielded questions between bites of corn bread and peas. Finally, someone got right to the crux of the matter and asked me how I had managed to get myself into that situation in the first place. I saw Hubie raise his eyes in my direction. I thought of all the possible excuses - rudders hung up, tricky cross currents, meeting another boat, high wind but decided that the truth was, "I just screwed up, that's all." Hubie silently rose with plate in hand and left the galley. The next morning we arrived in Genoa and dropped the Black Hawk at its home base, and Hubie with it. He did not look me up to wish me a bon voyage. The whole episode passed from my life, I thought for good. Two years later, I lived in Alma, Wisconsin, for a summer. Toward the end of August, some friends invited me to a festival down in Stoddard, about ten miles north of Genoa. It was one of those affairs that has a women's softball tournament, four or five country bands under a circus tent all playing "Rocky Top, Tennessee," and people from all over Crawford and Grant Counties who think that La Crosse is a big city. As I sat talking to Yank from Stoddard and tried to work up the courage to ask the leggy shortstop from Viroqua to dance with me, I happened to look over to my right - and there was Hubie. Well, there was no use ducking it. I had to go over and take my medicine. "Do you remember me?" I meekly asked. Hubie, who had imbibed one or two Leinenkugels, wrinkled his brow, looked me up and down for a few seconds, and set his jaw square at me. "You're goddamn right, I remember you! You're the son of a bitch who put me up in them trees!" As he scrutinized my face, I hoped he hadn't drunk so much that he wanted to take all the work it had cost him out of my hide right on the spot. "And you know what?" he continued. "You was man enough to say that ya just screwed up, and I liked that." He wrapped his husky arm around my shoulder and led me toward the bar. "Let me buy ya a goddamn beer." At least up in Crawford County, Wisconsin, it's a good idea to admit when you just screwed up. ~
Lee Hendrix started working as a deckhand on towboats in 1972 and as a,pilot in 1976. He has also taught school in St. Louis and Outward Bound classes in North Carolina. He currently works for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company.
Celebrating the River By Mike Krapfl
River scientists and specialists of the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee (UMRCC) have discussed the river's problems at 50 annual meetings, since state conservation agencies from IJlinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service formed this organization. For the 51st annual meeting in Dubuque, on March 15 to 17, they wanted something different - to celebrate the Mississippi River. They wanted to say good things about it and their work on it. They even invited a barge official and a transportation economist to talk about the utility of the river for moving corn. Norm Stucky, an environmental coordinator with the Missouri Department of Conservation, found three reasons to pull out his harmonica and play a tune for the river. During his tone-setting keynote address, he told 200 or so river experts that the UMRCC itself is worth celebrating. Its heritage includes notables such as Aldo Leopold, the
Norm Stucky found three reasons to pull out his harmonica and play a tune for the river. Iowa-born professor and writer who championed the idea that people should act like members of the land and river communities rather than conquerors of them. Let's celebrate how far the river has come, Stucky said. Sure, it has its troubles, but at least it's not what it was 30 years ago. It no longer smells like raw sewage and isn't such a convenient dump for raw industrial waste. Dikes have been notched and even removed, giving the river some access to its floodplain and backwaters. Pool levels are being raised and lowered to see if that helps the vegetation, fish and wildlife. Education programs teach students to appreciate and care for the river. Even the Great Flood of 1993 is worth celebrating, he said. The river may be trapped by dams and dikes, but it's not a tame prisoner. "Our big rivers are resilient. You can poke them in the gut, and along comes an event like the flood of '93, and you realize the river is a living, dynamic being." Backwaters may be silting in. There's talk of expanding the locks up and down the river. And there may be fewer fish to catch. But the river still is alive and worth celebrating. Celebrations aren't enough, though. The river still needs people to talk about it and work for it, said Suzi Wilkins, the coordinator of the Mississippi River Basin Alliance. "But we need to stop preaching to the choir," she reminded the choir of river specialists. "We need to go out and seek new partners and reach out to the public."
Mike Krapfl writes about the river from Dubuque.
CURRENT EVENTS By Pamela Eyden
Public Water, Private Trout
wo enterprising business people in Sauk Rapids, Minn., have requested an after-the-fact permit for building two impoundments - one in a bay of the Mississippi River where Goodhue Creek enters it, and the other farther up the creek. According to a notice from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the entrepreneurs dredged 1.2 acres of floodplain wetlands and used the dredged material to build a dike and a stoplog control structure in a bay called Pirate's Cove, about 10 miles north of St. Cloud. Farther up Goodhue Creek, they poured concrete between two old bridge abutments to create the second impoundment. Both are stocked with trout. The Corps has jurisdiction because the impoundments are on public waterways.
Zebra Mussel Explosion?
he stage is set for a population explosion of zebra mussels in the Upper Mississippi River in 1995, says a report from the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Commission. Many new colonies are dense with adults. Samplings in Pool 15 during the summer and fall of 1994 showed colonies becoming more dense with bigger individuals. The first zebra mussel in the Upper Mississippi was found at La Crosse, in September, 1991.
Back Off, Bullwinkle
33-year-old Norwegian cross country skier discovered a trick this winter that could save the lives and limbs of skiers around the world, wherever there are moose. The woman was skiing near her home, 50 miles north of Oslo, Norway, when she was charged by a moose. It put one foot on her chest, pinned her down and kicked her. She punched back and stabbed with her ski poles, but thought
she was losing the battle until she remembered something about the sensitivity of horses' noses. Applying the knowledge across species lines, she stuck her thumb in one moose nostril, a finger in the other, and squeezed hard. It worked. "The moose leaped away from me, shaking its head and snorting furiously," the woman told the Oslo newspaper, Verdens Gang, according to a story in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald (1-28-95).
St. Paul Gets the Razzberry West Side St. Paul neighborhood residents are starting to question proposed development plans for the riverfront area, according to a story in The Riverview Times, a neighborhood newspaper. "With talk of amphitheaters, ballparks, Science Museums and other potential projects swirling about and changing direction faster than Mississippi floodwaters," residents wonder
"With talk of amphitheaters, ballparks, Science Museums and other potential projects swirling about and changing direction faster than Mississippi floodwaters ... " what these plans will mean for them. What will happen to parking, traffic, crime and job opportunities, not to mention parks that snapping turtles, woodpeckers and local residents have had to themselves all this time? Whatever happens, Razz berry Island (formerly called Navy Island) will host a Chautauqua this summer, a giant tent for musical, theatrical and educational evepts.
Investments in Recreation
isconsin's popular Wyalusing State Park, just south of Prairie
du Chien, may get a new park entrance visitor station this spring. The current building is far too small, says the DNR. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Waterways Commission approved recreational boat dock improvement projects totalling $1,115,426. The projects include sites at Prairie du Chien, Genoa and Blackhawk on the Mississippi River, and Wauzeka on the Kickapoo River. The city of La Crosse will also receive funds to build a public walkway between the La Crosse River and the Lisman Mill on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Clinton Reforms Flood Control
he Clinton Administration wants to reform the Army Corps of Engineers' role in flood control, starting with the Fiscal Year 1996 budget. Among its recommendations are: • no new flood control projects started in 1996; • no participation by the Corps in local flood control projects; • the Corps could get involved only with projects that have an economic benefits that exceed costs by at least two to one; • no involvement in local projects to improve recreational harbors and protect against erosion of beaches; • the federal government would pay 25 percent and non-federal partners 75 percent of shared-cost projects. The current ratio is the reverse. The Army Corps of Engineers has been involved in flood control since the turn of the century. Nearly all the $30 billion in federal money spent on flood control was spent on structural projects - dams, levees, etc. Meanwhile, annual flood damage continues to increase in constant dollars, doubling since 1951, to $3 billion per year. Congress, of course, will have to approve the recommendations.
Books and Guides • A guide to 155 public boat launch sites in the Twin Cities metro area, including maps, parking, fees and fish, is available free from the Minnesota DNR,
(612) 296-6157 or 1-800-766-6000. • New discoveries about wetlands and how they contribute to groundwater quality are summarized in the guidebook, Wetlands and Groundwater in the United States, published by the American Ground Water Trust. For a copy, call (612) 761-2215. •Wisconsin's updated Guide to Curriculum Planning in Environmental Education helps educators integrate environmental education into all subject areas. Order it from the Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction, 1-800-243-8782. • For a copy of A Citizen's Guide to Government River Management and Protection Programs and Agencies in Wisconsin, call the Wis. Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, (608) 262-1004. • If you don't know where to look for wildlife in Wisconsin, buy the new Wisconsin Wildlife Viewing Guide, a 96page book that tells of 76 good places for motorists, bikers and hikers to go. It's available at bookstores or by calling Falcon Press, 1-800-582-2665.
y 5 ,_
Ill Eagle News
ead poisoning and toxic levels of carbofuran, an agricultural chemical, have been ruled out as possible causes for numerous bald eagle deaths in central Wisconsin this winter. No other cause has been determined. One of the sick eagles responded to treatment and was released, another six died of unknown causes, and three were found dead. The birds were part of a winter population of about 100 eagles along the Wisconsin River. Normally, about 20 to 25 eagle deaths per year are reported in Wisconsin from easily explained causes, such as lead poisoning.
egraded habitat and heavy "harvest" regulations, along with nonpoint source pollution have threatened the smallmouth bass, a fish much loved by anglers. The Federation of Fly Fishers hasJormed a clearinghouse to help get information out to supporters of the fish. The clearinghouse promises information on topics like as catch-and-release fish-
ing, agricultural impacts on smallmouth in the Midwest and ways to improve bass reproduction rates. For more information, call coordinator Tim Holschlag, (612) 789-2713.
Lone Ranger Wanted The U.S. Department of the Interior is looking for a park ranger for the Mississippi River National River and Recreation Area. Experience with park systems and knowledge of the river are job requirements. Posting will be in downtown St. Paul until other facilities are built. For information, call (612) 290-4160.
Refuge Capstone Property
n organization called Friends of the Minnesota Valley wants help in persuading Congress to find money to purchase 845 acres of land right below the Refuge Visitor Center in Bloomington, Minn. It's a key piece of floodplain land that links the center to the riverbank, includes a wealth of bird habitats and is uncomfortably close to the Mall of America. The Refuge has negotiated for 15 years to get it and now the sellers are willing, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service doesn't have the money. For information call Friends director Ann Haines, (612) 854-5900.
Raring to Go
arges were backed up, waiting in line to get through Lock 27 when it opened in early March. Lock 27 is the southern-most lock on the Upper Missis-
sippi. It was closed for repairs this winter, forcing tows to use a smaller auxiliary lock. Eighteen tows were queued to go north and six were headed south when the main lock opened a week ahead of schedule, according to the Waterways Journal (3-13-95). The main lock is 1,200 feet long. The auxiliary lock is 600 feet, or about as long as most main locks in the northern stretch of the river.
And a Steam Calliope, Too
he city of La Crosse granted permission for the Julia Belle Swain excursion boat to take up residence at the city marina. Work will begin soon on new dock pilings and navigation lights in the marina. The boat's new owners, Bob and Lori Kalhagen of Madison, Wis., have "always, always wanted a steamboat," according to their press release. Bob went for a ride on the boat during its last scheduled cruise out of Galena, Ill., last fall and ended up buying it. The last cruise was a floating auction. The Julia Belle Swain is a triple decker built in 1971 to imitate a steam paddlewheeler of 1800s vintage. It sports a functioning wooden paddlewheel, twin smokestacks, a seven-foot diameter steering wheel, a steam whistle and a steam calliope. It can accommodate 124 passengers on day and overnight trips (with lodgings ashore).=
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RIVER CALENDAR April Special Events 8 Beginning birders class, Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Call (612) 890-6533. 16-22 National Wildlife Week and National Earth Week 22 Earth Day, 25th anniversary. 28 National Arbor Day Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center West, Brooklyn Park, Minn. Call (612) 424-8172. 8 Waffles & Waterfowl, 8:30 a.m. 9 Mississippi Beach Walk, 1 & 2:30 p.m. 23 Floodplain Forest Tramp, 1 p.m. May 13 War Eagle Day, Riverside Park, La Crosse, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 125th anniversary of the steamboat's fiery demise.
22 La Crosse Area River Biologists & Managers, Brett Mandernack, fall raptor migration count at Eagle Valley Nature Preserve, 7 p.m. - 10 p .m., Heileman Hall, $3. Army Corps of Engineers Floodplain Management Assessment, public meetings, 7 p.m. Call (612) 290-5435. 18 Moline, Ill. 18 St. Paul, Drovers Holiday Inn 19 La Crosse, Holiday Inn 19 Burlington, Iowa, Ramada Inn 19 Waterloo, Iowa 20 Quincy, Ill. Master plan for Wis. DNR land, public meetings. Copies of proposal available. Call Tom Watkins, (608) 266-3568. 19 La Crosse, County Admin. Bldg, 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. 24 Madison, GEF 2 State Office Building, 1 p.m. - 3 p .m., followed by public hearing. 27-29 Mississippi River Research Consortium annual meeting, Holiday Inn, La Crosse. Call Rob Maher, (618) 4669690.
Workshops & Conferences River Cleanups 1 Whitewater River, South Branch. Call (612) 688-0865. 17 Whitewater River. Call John, (507) 689-2808. 18 Mississippi, Macalaster College. Call Aimee, (612) 6982102. 22 Mississippi, U . of St. Thomas. Call Amy, (612) 962-8280. 22 Minneapolis, call Deb, (612) 348-4448. 22 St. Paul parks & river, call Brian or Gary, (612) 266-6458. 22 Mississippi, Coon Rapids. Call Jennifer, (612) 422-3361.
May 4-7 Mississippi River Conference, Mississippi River Basin Alliance, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Memphis, $70. Call Suzi Wilkins, (314) 822-4114. May 5-6 Minnesota's Amphibians & Reptiles: A Symposium on Their Conservation & Status, Bell Museum of Natural History and St. Paul Student Center, U. of Minn., $10. Call (612) 624-9050. July 18-19 Exploration of the Mississippi River, Project WILD workshop for educators, Wis. DNR, Alma, $25, register by May 1. Call Brian Brecka, (608) 685-6221. ~
Meetings & Hearings 10 St. Croix Valley Interstate Group meeting, Stillwater Library, 6:30 p.m. Ron Lawrenz, Dir. of Science Museum of Minnesota's St. Croix Watershed Research Station. 10 Public hearings on Wis. DNR Fish & Wildlife rules, all counties, 7 p.m. Questionnaires at libraries and county clerk's offices. Call Al Phelan, (608) 266-0580. Buffalo, Alma High School Auditorium Crawford, County Courthouse, Prairie du Chien Grant, Lancaster High School, Hilary Auditorium La Crosse, Central High School Auditorium, La Crosse Pepin, County Gov. Center, County Board Room, Durand Pierce, Hillcrest Elemementary Gym, Ellsworth Trempealeau, County Courthouse, Whitehall 13 Minn. - Wis. Boundary Area Commission meeting, Winona. Call (612) 436-7131 or (715) 386-9444. 18 St. Croix Watershed Network community meeting, Wis. IndianhealTechnical College, New Richmond, Wis. Call (612) 333-5424 or (715}_ 386-9444.