Big River Magazine
Mississippi River stories and news


November-December 2007
News Excerpts and More Information

Follow the links for more information about news in Big River.

Easier Stamps
Washington, D.C. — You don’t even have to go to your local sporting goods store to buy a duck stamp, now that agencies in Wisconsin and Minnesota are selling them electronically. The new three-year program, also initiated in seven other states, aims to make it easier for hunters, birders and stamp collectors to get stamps.
Customers can buy an electronic duck stamp on the internet or by telephone, as well as through post offices and sporting goods stores. They receive a proof of purchase that works like a duck stamp for 45 days, long enough for the real stamp to arrive in the mail. Duck stamps are required for duck hunting and for access to some National Wildlife Refuges.
Since the program began in 1934, more than $700 million has been raised for the purchase of wetlands and other waterfowl habitat
. duck stamps

New Resources
• A Watershed and Wetland Protection Information Kit is available at the website of the Center for Watershed Protection. The guidebooks, brochures and manuals in the kit include a User’s Guide to Stream Assessment and Smart Watershed Benchmarking Tools, among other practical tools.
• The Peterson Ornithological Collection at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., was opened to the public in October. The collection includes 1,000 rare ornithological books, periodicals and records dating back to 1886. The collection was a gift of well-known bird scholar and birder Peter Peterson before his death in 1997.
• The Army Corps of Engineers has released a 2007 edition of the Mississippi River Flood Control and Navigation Maps, which was last published in 1998. The book contains 111 maps, covering the river from Cairo, Ill., to the Gulf of Mexico, and a lot of information about landings, access points and facilities. The book costs $22 and is also available on CD, through the Corps’ New Orleans District and Memphis District websites. You can also download PDFs from the website.

New EcoPark & Zoo
La Crosse, Wis. — With $4.8 million in funding, La Crosse’s old Myrick Park Zoo will be renovated and transformed into an environmental education center that will serve as the main entrance to a 1,100-acre wetland and 800-acre forest. The new Myrick Hixon EcoPark and Zoo is scheduled to open in 2008.
Visions of the ecopark are based on Myrick Park’s location on the La Crosse River Marsh, which bisects the town, and its proximity to Hixon Forest Nature Center, along the bluffs. Both facilities needed updating, so instead of competing for funds, they joined forces.
Plans include displaying animals that are native to northern North America; creating an energy-efficient building that will be a model of conservation and native landscaping; adding a nocturnal-animal building and a modern aquarium; and providing environmental education to adults and children.
Seven La Crosse-area Rotary Clubs are helping to raise funds for the project.