PRESIDENT - Timm Zumm
Timm Zumm is a resident of the Town of Spring Green, Wisconsin. He works to protect the river from degradation by pollutants and development. His goal is to preserve this treasure for future generations. Timm is a tireless advocate for the river’s health. He works with local and state elected officials to help them understand the river’s value. He helps to train and lead citizen efforts to monitor the quality of the water in the Lower Wisconsin Riverway.
“One of the best things about summer on this river,” said Timm Zumm, “is how you can paddle out and camp on a sandbar. You don’t need a reservation and when conditions are right you don’t even need a tent. There are many places where don’t hear traffic and you can’t see any houses or buildings. Just trees, bluffs, sandbars, and flowing water. It’s a peaceful place to recharge.”
VICE PRESIDENT - Dave W. Marshall
Dave worked for WDNR from 1976 to 2006. During his early years at WDNR, Dave investigated water pollution of the Wisconsin River before the implementation of the Clean Water Act. Most of the river was extremely polluted. Describing the river condition at that time as “dystopian” is not an exaggeration. Impoundments from Rhinelander to Nekoosa appeared to boil from the release of hydrogen sulfide and methane gases. Flowing parts of the river were choked with filamentous bacteria and fungi, collectively known as “slime growths”, which thrived in the nutrient soup. Many sections of the river were fishless. The Lower Wisconsin River was spared the worst of the pollution, in part due to the relatively remote distance from pulp and paper mill sources and also the existence of numerous connected oxbow lakes. The groundwater fed oxbows served as refuges during severe periods of water pollution while the massive Driftless Area aquifer diluted some of the pollution. Nonetheless, few people consumed fish in the Lower Wisconsin River given the sulfide – “rotten egg” odors permeated the flesh. All that eventually changed for the better after full implementation of the Clean Water Act in the early 1980s.
Dave started studying the oxbows along the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway by the late 1990’s. In general WDNR did not support this effort even though most of the floodplain lakes had never been studied. When Dave retired from WDNR in 2006, he was able to study oxbow lakes in much greater detail, thanks to the support of FLOW, River Alliance, State Riverway county governments and WDNR Lakes and Rivers Planning Grant Programs. In 2009 Dave and Timm Zumm began working together to establish FLOW as a 501c3 nonprofit conservation organization. Dave served as a board member until 2016 but remained on the Science Committee and continued oxbow lakes studies.
When Dave first started studying the oxbows lakes (1998-2004) most were in near pristine condition. Most oxbow lakes are now highly degraded due to groundwater nitrate contamination across the sand terrace. Ironically, the problem continues to degrade this important water resources feature which likely sustained much of the Lower Wisconsin River biodiversity before implementation of the Clean Water Act.
TREASURER - Patrick Michaels
Patrick Michaels moved to Wyoming township from Los Angeles in 2014, and in so doing traded the ocean for the river. An avid birdwatcher, paddler, and overall nature enthusiast, Patrick has spent countless hours paddling the river and walking the forests and sloughs in all seasons and conditions. From the floodplain forest during spring melt to the vast sandbars amidst a dry summer’s trickle, from an easy afternoon “bridge to bridge” (14 to 23) with the dogs to a three-day solo journey to the Mississippi, the river never shows the same face twice. Patrick has become an enthusiastic evangelist for the Lower Wisconsin River, bringing all manner of friends and visitors on river journeys great and small, and covering logistics for many more.
During his time in Wisconsin, Patrick has worked in finance and business development capacities for agricultural businesses and organizations, including Canopy Farm Management, the Savanna Institute, and Midwestern BioAg. He and his partner Katie also owned and operated a local food business in Spring Green for several years. A firm believer in the need for humanity to integrate itself thoughtfully into its context, Patrick is involved in local land use efforts such as the Lowery Creek Watershed Initiative. Patrick is excited to serve on the board of directors of the Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River as Treasurer and looks forward to helping to protect, preserve, and share this remarkable flowing body of water.
BOARD MEMBER - Sherry Holly
Sherry’s roots to the Wisconsin River go back to her childhood. She was born and raised in Sauk City and currently owns a home and land along an overflow of the Wisconsin River in the township of Arena. Sherry states, “The river grounds me, it gives me peace, and tranquility.” Preserving this resource for future generations is what motivated me to become involved with the Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway.”
When Sherry is not enjoying the river, she works as an education consultant and administrator with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Sherry also enjoys playing hockey, bird watching, restoring prairie, and spending time with her family.