Details on the Baraboo River Corridor Plan and how it came to a vote in Wonewoc

by Diane Dahl

Juneau County Representatives, Chris Zindorf, Joe Lally and Ray Feldman along with several Wonewoc Village Administrators and Brandy Pollard Jones from Beyond Boundaries Outfitters have been attending meetings and supporting The Baraboo River Corridor Plan since July 2017.

When Pollard Jones got wind that the Wonewoc Board Financial Committee didn't want to pay the "inflated" engineering fees of $5,000 for the initial plan and had decided to go independently, she went into action. Meeting one-on-one with each board member to make sure they had seen the Plan and were aware of the success of Phase 1. She met with business owners in Wonewoc as well as long-time residents and newer residents. When the Wonewoc Village Board Agenda for March 28th included “discussion and possible action on supporting an ADA up-grade of their canoe and kayak launch and pursue stewardship matching fund grants” supporters of the Baraboo River Corridor plan were excited. Until they became aware that it was not a discussion on the Corridor Plan but rather a vote to build their own launch independent of the Plan. Nick Baldwin, board member, stepped in and insisted on a last minute addition to the agenda to include discussion of the allocation of funds for the Corridor Plan.

Pollard Jones again stepped into action, calling citizens and business owners. She held a pre-meeting mingle at Beyond Boundaries to encourage supporters to attend the Wonewoc Board Meeting. “This is a moment to take pride in our community. Positive Energy! Positive energy is what we need to show! Thank you for coming”

The Plan:

The Baraboo River Corridor Plan is a 2-phase project. It's purpose being to “Protect, restore and enhance the natural environment within the Baraboo River Corridor and focus on opportunities that will spur recreation, tourism and development to establish the region as THE premiere water recreation destination in south central Wisconsin.” The project is overseen by MSA Professional Services, Inc.

CORRIDOR GOALS

1. Make the Baraboo River Corridor an attractive, accessible and safe destination to increase

its use by residents and visitors for recreation.

2. Improve the water quality of the Baraboo River.

3. Build partnerships to develop, implement and champion improvements throughout the

Baraboo River Corridor.

4. Create a system of access points throughout the Baraboo River Corridor and associated

Tributaries for kayakers, canoers and fishers

About 120 miles long, with a watershed area of 655 square miles, the Baraboo River begins in Monroe County near Kendall and ends at the Wisconsin River near Portage. It is the fourth largest tributary to the Wisconsin River and the longest restored free-flowing river in the nation.

Phase 1, a partnership between the Village of North Freedom, Village of West Baraboo, City of Baraboo and Sauk County began in 2016 and has been completed. The Phase I partnership achieved over $970,000 in grants. North Freedom, the smallest community invested $5,000 into the plan and have received $300,000 worth of grants.

Phase II became open to Rock Springs, Reedsburg, LaValle, Wonewoc, Union Center, and Elroy with Sauk County and Juneau County as invested partners. The communities must invest $10,000 in the plan of which Juneau County has agreed to matching funds of $5000. (There is some dispute on the wording of the Juneau County matching funds).

Communities have an April deadline to join the project.