Riverway board approves battle site restoration project

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

MUSCODA—A somber tone was set as the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board (LWSRB) acknowledged the recent death of Crawford County representative James Czajkowski. Czajowski, a former attorney and Crawford County Circuit Court Judge, died on April 2nd. A moment of silence was observed. Mark Cupp, Executive Director, said the process of finding a replacement for Czajkowski was underway.

Cupp said he also is seeking a new Dane County representative and someone to fill an “at-large” slot to represent recreational users. The county representatives must be a resident of a local unit of government with lands within the Riverway or that abuts the Riverway or an elected official representing lands within the project area.

The board approved issuance of a management permit to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for removal of woody vegetation and trees at the site of the Battle of Wisconsin Heights from the Black Hawk War of 1832. The property is part of the Riverway’s Black Hawk Unit located in the Town of Mazomanie, Dane County. Plans call for restoration of the native plant community from the 1832 time period, which was largely prairie and oak savanna. The restoration work will be done by the DNR’s Natural Areas crew and Riverway staff. The site is an important historical and archaeological location. Native American earthworks are found at the parcel as well as the battle site where Black Hawk and a small band of warriors fought a delaying action against American troops and militia. The delaying action allowed elderly, women, and children of the Sauk-Fox followers of Black Hawk to cross the Wisconsin River in an eff ort to peacefully return to Iowa. The Black Hawk War ended with the “Massacre at Bad Axe” on the Mississippi River and with the surrender of Black Hawk at Prairie du Chien.

Cupp also reported he is working with DNR Conservation Warden Al Erickson and Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) President Timm Zumm to enhance responses to recreational user requests for assistance. GPS technology would be used to pinpoint the location of someone needing help. In addition to greater efficiency and shorter response times for emergency responders, an added benefit would be to alleviate some of the burden from emergency responders in instances where a local volunteer can assist. Zumm said a recent virtual meeting with fire department and rescue squad personnel to discuss the concept was well attended and the idea well received. More details on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway Safety Coalition will be forthcoming.

The next Riverway Board meeting is slated for May 13, 2021, and again will be conducted via Zoom. The link to join the meeting will be posted on the LWSRB website.

For further information, contact Mark E. Cupp, LWSRB Executive Director, at (608) 739-3188, by cell phone at (608) 739-2179 or by e-mail at mark.cupp@wisconsin.gov.