​The Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Partnership
Past Convention Archives

YouTube playlist of Wisconsin Lakes Convention Digital Productions

The 2023 Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention Archive

2023​ | 202220212020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016​ | 2015​ | 2014​ |2013​ | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 

For over thirty years, The Wisconsin Lakes Convention has been an annual gathering of lake lovers of all stripes: Lake Stewards, Lake Leaders, Lake Professionals, and the members of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership.
Meeting together to share research, management options, and educational strategies, convention participants leave with new ideas and a renewed support network.

*Our searchable directory of articles is currently unavailable; we hope to have it up and running sometime this year. Please contact us if you are looking for something specific.*

Below are links to convention archives in reverse chronological order.

202220212020201920182017 | 2016​ | 2015​ | 2014​ |2013​ | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 



Our theme for 2023 was Building Trust Around Water Together, and 645 folks joined the Convention share their knowledge, passion and stories. Wisconsin DNR Secretary Adam Payne kicked off our Thursday morning with opening remarks and brought some important messages to the group. The Keynote Panel that followed discussed the trust we have in the Public Trust Doctrine and was moderated by Eric Olson. Panelists included Mike Engleson, Executive Director, Wisconsin Lakes, Lynn Markham, Shoreland and Land Use Specialist, UWSP Center for Land Use Education, and Michael Cain, co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Fire Public Trust and Wetlands Work Group, Retired DNR attorney. Debra Shore, EPA Region 5 Regional Administrator, joined us for lunch on Thursday to give us a broad perspective. Dr. John Francis encouraged us to continue to do the important work we do with his engaging and inspiring story of the positive impact he has had (and is still having) on and for our environment. Kris Goodwill, Tribal Liaison with Wisconsin DNR sent us off at lunch on Friday with a reminder that our freedoms today came at a price. 



Finally! After two years of virtual existence, we were able to come together again - IN PERSON - to learn, network, and grow as the caretakers of our lakes and rivers. Our theme this year was Protecting What We Love for the Future, and we all love Wisconsin’s water resources. Along with that love, we all bring something unique to the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, whether it be our technical skills, out-of-the-box ideas, communication strategies, writing styles, etc. Our diversity is what makes this Partnership so strong. Our keynote speakers this year were engaging and inspiring: Charlie Wooley, Midwest Regional Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Chad Pregracke, Founder, Living Lands & Waters, Sarah Barry, Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin DNR, and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.



The 2021 Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention was expanded into Wisconsin Water Week and took place virtually March 8-12. As we were all navigating in turbulent times, we realized this was the best way to assemble experts from state and local governments, higher education, and lake service firms to engage with a wide range of water stakeholders at our statewide gathering (even if we couldn't be in person). Monday's focus was on Water Cycles and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes welcomed us and introduced Dr. Katharine Hayhoe who shared why talking about climate change is so important. Tuesday focused on Water Bodies and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole introduced Tommy G. Thompson, UW System President, who sang the praises of the University of Wisconsin System and introduced Dr. Marissa Jablonski, Executive Director of the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. On Wednesday, Water Actions day, Governor Tony Evers kicked off an impressive plenary panel featuring research from the UW Water Science-Policy Fellowship program at UW-Madison's Aquatic Sciences Center. The week finished off with 10 regional mini-conferences from around the state on Thursday and a spattering of local events on Friday.



The 2020 Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention was a test of resilience. Resilience implies being able to maintain form and function despite disturbance. Your 2020 Convention was greatly impacted by the coronavirus and the associated public health protocols. We were not able to meet in person, but instead offered your convention as a live, online event. Because of this, many of the session webinars were recorded. We hope to see all of you next year in person!


Pay it Forward


The 2019 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention and Water Action Volunteers Symposium gave us all some great ideas and inspiration on how to Pay it Forward for the sake of our waters. Our Thursday Keynote, Dr. Kate Brauman, did a great job of making economics interesting and meaningful when it comes to what our waters are worth. Our Friday Keynote, Dr. Doug Tallamy reminded us that we need to "restore the little things that run the world."


Heeding the Call


The 2018 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention and Water Action Volunteers Symposium was a place to continue to develop your relationship with and understanding of lakes, rivers, wetlands, and watersheds. Our keynote LoonWatch panel including Erica LeMoine, Michael Meyer, Terry Daulton and Gary Zimmer reviewed the history of LoonWatch and looked to future challenges and opportunities with this beautiful water bird. Our Friday keynote, Dr. Stephen Carpenter looked at how watersheds are changing in today's climate.


Minding Our Waters

The 2017 annual Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention was held in conjunction with the annual Water Action Volunteers Symposium. We were challenged to "go deeper" and explore the mind-body-water connection. Our knowledgeable and inspirational keynote speakers, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and Andrew Fusek Peters made a lasting impression.


Celebrating Volunteers!

The 2016 annual Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention combined with the 7th Citizen-based Monitoring Conference and the Annual Water Action Volunteers Symposium. We celebrated 30 years of the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network (citizen scientists gathering lake data across the state) and 20 years of the Water Action Volunteers (citizen scientists gathering stream and river data across the state). Our keynote speakers​, Kris Stepenuck and Alyssum Pohl were both a big hit and inspired many who attended.


Healthy Watersheds, Healthy Lakes, Healthy People

The 2015 annual Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention had a special focus on health – the health of our lakes, their watersheds, and how water and lake ecology impacts people. Participants learned about the latest in lake science and research, and heard real-world examples of successful lake initiatives across the state.


Back to the Point 

 Back to the Point logo
What started in Point is now back to Point. In 1979, about 100 lake district commissioners from across the state gathered at the UW-Stevens Point campus to share their experiences with Wisconsin's lake district law and hear updates about lake management. From that modest beginning, an annual tradition was established, growing year after year and bringing in new lake lovers to the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. 2014 was another successful gathering of lake enthusiasts gathering to engage in lake partnership efforts from local political organizing to ongoing invasive species prevention and sound lake management. If you were at the convention and missed something, don't worry, there's always next year! 
If you do not find the archived information you are looking for, please contact us at uwexlakes@uwsp.edu or 715-346-2116.


We're All In This Together:
Celebrating Diversity 

The 2013 convention theme was “We’re All In This Together: Celebrating Diversity”. We explored the many different aspects of our wonderfully varied lakes, their diverse flora and fauna, and the diverse people who love them through recreation and stewardship. Thank you for coming together with folks from all across the state and beyond to celebrate our differences and unite to protect, restore, and enhance our lakes.
If you do not find the archived information you are looking for, please contact us at uwexlakes@uwsp.edu or 715-346-2116.

I am the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership

Who are we? We are lakefront property owners, farmers, swimmers, scientists, builders, business owners, anglers, realtors, lake groups, government officials, boaters, foresters, teachers – we are the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership.
Continuing with tradition, the convention offered interactive workshops, full-group (plenary) sessions, a poster session, over 35 concurrent sessions, and several opportunities to create new partnerships and bolster seasoned ones.
If you do not find the archived information you are looking for, please contact us at uwexlakes@uwsp.edu or 715-346-2116.  


Speaking for Lakes

How do you speak for lakes?
For over three decades, the Wisconsin Lakes Convention has provided an exceptional opportunity for people to come together and share their water interests with other concerned citizens and lake professionals. This year, hundreds of attendees united to celebrate, protect and speak for Wisconsin’s legacy of lakes. If you were not able to attend all of the sessions you had hoped, or you would like to view a particular presentation again, you're in luck! The following archive is here for your perusal.


Fringe Benefits:
Restoring Wisconsin Shorelands & Shallows

For many of us, lake shore lands and the shallow areas near shore conjure up many blissful emotions. They are places where memories are born. A place where picnics, laughter, and many wet adventures played out. The 2010 Wisconsin Lakes Convention took an in depth look at these critical areas. The Convention featured national experts on the nature and inner workings and restoration of the shore land areas. Experts from around North America gathered to discuss the research, management options, educational ideas and needed policy changes to deal more effectively with this important issue.
On these pages you will find copies of many of the presentations given at the event. The lake topics featured here cover the entire suite of lake management issues with a focus on the preservation and restoration of shore land areas.


Back To Balance:
An Aquatic Invasive Species Symposium

The 2009 Wisconsin Lakes Convention featured an international symposium on aquatic invasive species.  Experts from around North America gathered to discuss the research, management options, educational ideas and needed policy changes to deal more effectively with this prevailing issue.  The goal of the symposium was to share this knowledge with agency staff, lake citizens, businesses, elected officials, and others to help get our lakes “back to balance.”
While AIS is an important issue, it is not the only challenge facing Wisconsin lakes.  Wednesday and Friday workshops offered hands-on training and discussion on many important lake topics including AIS, lake ecology, interpreting and using lake data, working with local partners for lake protection and running a more effective lake group.


Learning From Lakes

What have we learned from Lakes?
They are a meeting place for groups of individuals from varied backgrounds, each with their own set of values, who realize how important these waters are to all of us and to future generations.
The 2008 Wisconsin Lakes Convention included 12 workshops, a field trip, and 36 concurrent sessions that offered approximately 450 participants to “learn from lakes.”  Business partners and non-profit organizations exhibited a wide variety of products and programs. Pat Rivers, Project Manager for the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership spoke on conservation of Wisconsin’s glacial lakes. Jeff Bode of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and Attorney Bill O’Connor, each shared lessons we have learned from lakes and each other over the past 30 years.
They emphasized the importance of continuing our strong preservation efforts via partnership and state water law. Secretary Matthew Frank and Representative Garey Bies also addressed attendees. Randy Stark, Chief Conservation Warden of the Bureau of Law Enforcement for WDNR refreshed all of us on the people, challenges and events that shaped the history of the conservation movement in the United States, and provided inspiration for us to tackle current challenges on behalf of future generations. Inspiration was taken to a new level when National Geographic Live speaker Chad Pregracke showed how individuals CAN make a difference through passion and perseverance as he led us through his “Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers.”


Agents of Change

Approximately 550 people gathered in Green Bay for the 29th Wisconsin Lakes Convention themed “Agents of Change”.
Governor Doyle spoke about the importance of lakes and his support of efforts to affect positive change. DNR Secretary Scott Hassett, State Senator Robert Cowles and State Senator Mark Miller also addressed attendees about making a difference for lakes. Many discussions focused on the issue of “change” – changes happening to lakes from global climate change, invasive species, and human use; and ways for lake enthusiasts to be effective ‘agents of change’.   Internationally renowned lake expert Dr. John Magnuson discussed “Changing Strategies in a Changing Climate” and how global climate change will affect Wisconsin lakes. Former Newsweek correspondent and author, Peter Annin, traced the history and growing tensions over Great Lakes water use and the precarious future of water diversion in the Great Lakes states.
The packed agenda included 15 workshops, a field trip, and over 40 concurrent sessions. Business partners and non-profit organizations exhibited a wide variety of products and programs. The Convention was also a time for recognition of the hard work and passion so many people have for lakes.