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Lake Tides

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​Volume 32 No. 2 Spring 2007

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS): Another Aquatic Invasive
Update NR 115 Process
Citizen Lake Monitoring Network - 20+ Years and Still Going Strong
Wisconsin Lakes Convention Wrap Up
Lake Districts Q&A
Farewell and Good Luck (Laura Felda-Marquardt)
Clean Boats, Clean Waters: Volunteer Watercraft Inspection
As the Worm Turns: Meet Wisconsin's Freshwater Flatworms
Raking in the Data: New Protocol for Aquatic Plant Surveys
Aquatic Invasive Species: New Faces & New Opportunities
Life According to SCORP: Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan
Lake Planning Series: Common Lake Grant Pitfalls
Northwest Lakes Conference
New Duties & a New Voice at UWEX Lakes!


Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Another Aquatic Invasive

If you have followed the issues that have faced Wisconsin lakes over the years, you have certainly seen an ever-increasing list of "new" aquatic species that had never been seen in our waters before. Plants, fish, zooplankton, mussels...the list goes on. Some have been aggressive and are causing major concerns and management costs, while others have been less of an issue. All have come into our waters because of some human activity which had unintended consequences. The latest addition is a virus that kills fish called Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS).

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) virus is a disease that can affect both fresh and saltwater fish. The VHS virus was first reported in the 1930s when it was isolated in farm-raised trout in Denmark. In 2005 it was discovered in Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River, but it is believed to have been in the Great Lakes since 2003. It is not known to cause harm in humans, but it is considered so serious to fish that it is listed as a reportable disease by the World Organization for Animal Health.

What fish may get VHS?

This virus received national attention when a number of fish die-offs occurred in the Great Lakes. This is the first time any virus has affected so many different fish species from so many fish families in the Great Lakes. Researchers believe these fish kills in the Great Lakes region represent a new strain of the virus. As many as twenty-five species of fish may be susceptible to the virus, including muskellunge, smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, bass, walleye and others.

What does it do to fish?

VHS can be spread in fish fluids such as urine and reproductive fluids. The VHS virus can remain viable up to 14 days in water, so it could easily be spread in bait buckets or live wells. The virus reproduces best in fish when water temperatures are cool (37-54�F). Some fish show no external signs of the virus while others show signs that include bulging eyes, bloated abdomens, and red spots caused by hemorrhaging in the eyes, skin, gills, and at the base of the fins. If there are no physical signs it is hard to tell if fish are infected or not. Moving these seemingly unaffected fish from one waterbody to another may spread the virus. Testing in a lab is necessary to determine whether a fish is actually infected.

The virus infects the gills and within two days a fish can be contagious. The disease seems to transmit easily between fish of all ages. It has been discovered that some fish do not die from the virus, and may actually develop antibodies. The trouble is, the level of antibodies in the fish may decline over time and the fish may start spreading the virus again, which could cause a cycle of fish kills.

What is the DNR Doing?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking VHS very seriously and has initiated a major effort to test for the virus and control its spread. A few of their efforts include testing wild and hatchery populations of fish. The DNR has also informed the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab about the VHS virus in the Great Lakes and, with their help, has been monitoring spawning salmon and spotted musky for the virus since the fall of 2005. In 2007 the DNR initiated an expanded VHS virus testing plan, including fish from the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainages, bait fish, and invertebrate bait species. In April 2007 emergency rules went into effect to help control the spread of the VHS virus.

What can you do?

  • Do Not transport live fish or bait from one location to another .
  • Drain all water from your boat, bait buckets, coolers and motors before you leave a landing.
  • Disinfect your boat (inside and out) and equipment with 1/3 cup bleach to 5 gallons of water. Disinfect away from any waterbody.
  • Do Not empty bait buckets or live wells into lakes or rivers.
  • Do Not use minnows in any Wisconsin waters unless they were purchased in Wisconsin, or you legally caught the minnows from the place you are fishing.
  • Do Not use "cut" or dead bait from other Wisconsin waters (except when fishing in Green Bay, or Lake Michigan).
  • Report fish kills to your DNR fish biologist.
These are changing times and we are recognizing that humans are the reason so many unwanted species are showing up in our waters. We all need to look at making a cultural shift in how we behave when it comes to boating and using our waters. To make sure our waters remain resilient we must not move any boat or equipment from one waterbody to another without practicing good bio-security. That means each of us must thoroughly clean, drain and decontaminate all boats and equipment each and every time we move from one waterbody to another. Until we all do this religiously, there is a great likelihood that we will continue to spread aquatic invasive species from one lake to another.

For more information on VHS and details on the rules:

As this issue of Lake Tides goes to press, VHS has been found in a Wisconsin inland lake: Little Lake Butte des Morts.


Update: NR 115 Process


Chapter NR 115 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code is the state law that regulates the protection of shorelands in unincorporated areas. It governs such things as how far houses need to be set back from the water, lot sizes and limits on cutting down trees and other vegetation along the shoreline.


A 1997 study by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that the current minimum standards in Chapter NR 115 are only providing minimal protection of water quality and wildlife habitat, and that improved minimum standards are needed for shoreland zoning ordinances.


In response to inadequacies with the current minimum standards and concerns raised by county staff and property owners, a 28-member advisory committee was formed by the DNR in November of 2002 to help guide proposed changes in the rule. To date the rule revision process has taken almost five years, including eight listening sessions in 2003 and eleven public hearings in 2005. Over 1,400 people attended the 2005 public hearings and over 50,000 comments from nearly 12,000 individuals were received throughout the public comment period.

Why Public Hearings?

Dedication to a complete and thorough public participation process is critical to the success of revising Wisconsin’s Shoreland Management Program. Public hearings provide a means for incorporating the public’s values into decisions that affect their lives and also allow the public the opportunity to offer meaningful input into the decision making process. They are intended to produce a code that not only protects the water resources, but also balances protection with an understanding of property ownership.

What’s Next?

On May 23, 2007, the Department requested authorization from the Natural Resources Board to take a revised NR 115 to a second round of public hearings this summer. If a second round of hearings is approved, they will be held in July and August of 2007. More information about the rule revision process, the new draft and public hearings (when available) can be found at: or you can contact: Toni Herkert at (608) 266-0161 or

Stay Informed...Let WAL help!

Want to keep apprised of the proposed revised NR 115 rules this summer? Become a member of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes (WAL) and/or sign up for their free E-Lake Letter at or call (800) 542-5253

Citizen Lake Monitoring Network: 20+ Years and Still Going Strong

In 1986, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) initiated the Wisconsin Self-Help Lake Monitoring Program, now titled the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network (CLMN). The first year involved collecting clarity data on 113 lakes statewide by about 125 volunteers. In 1987, 169 lakes were monitored by about 175 individuals. Of the 175 volunteers that started in 1986 and 1987, 17 (10%) are still actively participating in lake monitoring. These 17 volunteers have a combined lake monitoring history of over 350 years! Of the 169 lakes that were monitored in 1987, 140 (83%) are still being monitored by volunteers. As of 2006, there were 881 lakes being actively monitored.

This year we celebrate the 20-year monitoring anniversary for the following volunteers: Don Glaeser – Bullhead Lake, Manitowoc County; Robert Kirschner – Crystal Lake, Forest County; and Jim Vennie, - Devils Lake, Sauk County, Indian Lake, Dane County and Fish Lake, Dane County. Interviews from two of these volunteers give us a unique perspective as both of these volunteers work with water quality issues in their past or current jobs.

Only a handful of CLMN volunteers do not live on a lake and Jim Vennie is one of those unique individuals. In the early days, Jim took his family on outings to collect secchi data, and made this a family event. In his professional life, Jim works for DNR and part of his position is to help analyze CLMN data, so he is quite familiar with the data that volunteers collect.

One of the changes Bob Kirschner noticed on the lake he was monitoring was that although the number of motorboats has not changed much, the size and power of these boats has increased substantially. In addition, the use of personal watercraft has also increased dramatically.

Like many of the other CLMN volunteers, Jim and Bob both noticed there has been moderate year-to-year variation in water clarity and water quality, but overall there does not seem to be a significant change. This is a good sign for Wisconsin lakes. However, there are other changes these two seasoned CLMN volunteers have witnessed related to aquatic vegetation. Jim has seen Eurasian water-milfoil come into the Dane County Lakes, and Bob has witnessed the removal and destruction of native vegetation along the shoreline due to expanding lawns.

So what keeps these two monitoring? Loons, frogs and commitment to the environment are just a few of the reasons they mentioned. This coincides with stories of the many other CLMN volunteers that we have interviewed over the years. You can read a full version of these interviews on the CLMN website at

We are all looking to make the future a better place – and the CLMN volunteers are an important part of making sure Wisconsin lakes are part of that future.

Wisconsin Lakes Convention Wrap Up

Approximately 550 people gathered in Green Bay for the 29th Wisconsin Lakes Convention, April 26-28, 2007. 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.

This event is a nationally known gathering of lake enthusiasts and others engaged in leaving a positive legacy for Wisconsin 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.
Mark your calendars for the 30th annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention to be held in Green Bay, April 17-19, 2008.

"I continue to learn new things every year" - Convention veteran (10+ years)

"I was very impressed with the choices of sessions" - 2007 Convention attendee

"I recommend this to everyone" - 2007 Convention attendee

The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership congratulates the following winners of the 2007 Lakes Stewardship Awards:
Citizen- David Pozorski
Educator - Susan Knight
Group - Lauderdale Lakes Partnership
Public Service - Kevin MacKinnon
Youth - New Auburn High School
Lifetime Achievement - Richard Wedepohl
Special Recognition - Laura Felda-Marquardt
Special Recognition - Twenty-year Veteran Citizen Lake Monitors:
James Vennie III, Don Glaeser, Mary Jane Bumby, Howard Lang, Elaine Spees, Loren Swanson, Gerald Ptaschinski, Sr., Stanley Young, Kevin MacKinnon, Tom Rulseh, Robert August, William Flader, Steven Frey, Dale Jalinski, Bob Kirschner, Kay Scharpf, Bill Whyte

Lake District Q&A

Q: Who can vote at a lake district annual meeting?
A: A person can vote if they are a U.S. citizen over 18 years of age and either:
  1. An elector (a resident in the lake district who is able to vote in other local/state elections). Electors do not have to own property in the district.
  2. A property owner within the lake district:
    • A person whose name appears as an owner of real property on the tax roll1
    • A person who owns title to real property even though the person’s name does not appear on the tax roll (i.e. a spouse)
    • A person who is the official representative, officer or employee authorized to vote on behalf of a trust, foundation, corporation, association or other organization owning real property in the lake district.
For more information on voting requirements, see People of the Lakes: A Guide for Wisconsin Lake Organizations (Chapter 5),
1The official tax roll for determining annual meeting voting eligibility is the one that was delivered before the third Monday in December of the previous year.

Farewell and Good Luck!

Laura Felda Marquardt came on the lakes scene with a passion for her work and a willingness to take on new challenges. She started out as a youth educator, working with students and teachers in K-12 and nonformal settings. In 2003, Laura developed a state-wide effort called Clean Boats, Clean Waters (CBCW), which she also coordinated. With this program, Laura focused her attention on training community volunteers to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Laura has worked hard to guide these statewide efforts and help people build their local capacity (see article on next page).

It has been great for all of us to watch this young lady grow over the years. She came here wanting to help people learn about lakes, and she has done that in a wonderful way. Her professional life has always been about helping others and many people are thankful for her experience and enthusiasm.

Laura will be hanging up her CBCW blue t-shirt and taking some well deserved time to explore this wonderful nation, while enjoying retirement with her husband Tom. Laura has left her mark on the arena of lake education and has been a great asset to Wisconsin. For those of you deep into the CBCW program, Laura tells us not to worry, her able replacement, Erin Henegar (see page 11), will be picking up were Laura left off.

We wish you all the best in what the future brings and we will miss you.

As the Worm Turns

Meet Wisconsin's Freshwater Flatworms

Put a piece of raw meat into a small stream or spring and after a few hours you may find it covered with hundreds of black worms… When not attracted into the open by food, they live inconspicuously under stones and on vegetation.

 -- Buchsbaum, et al. 1987
As part of ongoing efforts to document Wisconsin’s biological diversity and expand conservation planning to organisms often overlooked, I recently focused some of my attention on Wisconsin’s flatworms, a common but poorly known group of lake residents with intriguing life histories.

What are flatworms?

Unrelated to most other "worms," the free-living flatworms (scientists call them Turbellaria) belong to the phylum Platyhelminthes, a group of relatively simple, soft-bodied, invertebrates that also includes the parasitic tapeworms and flukes. Flatworms have a ribbon-shaped body that is literally flattened from top to bottom and lacks the segments typical of our more familiar earthworms.
Taxonomists divide flatworms into microturbellarians (tiny worms less than 4-hundredths of an inch in length) and macroturbellarians (those two-tenths to 1 inch in length, with most being 1/2 inch or longer). Biologists have recorded about 150 species of microturbellarians and approximately 40 species of macroturbellarians in North American freshwaters (others occur in the world’s oceans).

Can you find them in your lake?

You can, at least the larger ones. Flatworms occur in most freshwater habitats, often in exceedingly large numbers and rather high densities. Biologists once found 27,000 flatworms in one square meter in a lake! Because they cannot swim and generally do not like light, flatworms spend much of their time on the lake bottom. They release sticky mucus that they glide on top of. This mucus lets them crawl up plants and slide upside down on the surface of the water. Light-detecting eye-spots usually guide flatworms to the shade of rocks and other submerged items during daylight hours, so finding them in your lake might require a bit of careful searching.

What species occur in WI?

Although flatworms show up commonly when scientists collect invertebrate samples from lake and stream bottoms, few biologists have studied them in Wisconsin. Published records remain limited and surprisingly few specimens can be found in our natural history collections. I recently summarized the available records and compiled a provisional list of 31 species for the state, certainly short of the actual number that occurs here1.

What do flatworms do in our lakes?

Flatworms are important parts of healthy streams, ponds, and lakes. Most are predators that devour protists, rotifers, nematodes, aquatic worms, and other small, soft-bodied animals. Some release mucus as a trap to catch small crustaceans. They will also feed on dead animal matter and larger animals that are injured (flatworms can stretch part of their mouth and use it to suck the juices from their prey). Sometimes they even eat other flatworms, including their own kind!

Flatworms in turn have many predators; tadpoles, salamander larvae, small fish, and crustaceans, to name a few. They also provide food for aquatic insects, such as dragonfly naiads which later help us control pests (like mosquitoes) when they mature into adult forms.

Flatworms respire through their skin; gasses diffuse directly across their moist outer surfaces. Because of this, they need clean water with lots of oxygen to survive. Their absence from a lake can suggest the water body may not be as healthy as it could be.

How do they reproduce?

Although flatworms are one of the simplest organisms known, their behaviors can be quite complex. When these hermaphroditic animals mate, both individuals can lay eggs. The eggs, several of which are laid in a single tiny cocoon, take about two weeks to hatch. Those laid late in autumn, however, wait until the following spring to hatch. Flatworms can also reproduce asexually (Nature’s version of a B-rated Sci-fi movie). Their posterior end grips a substrate and the body constricts at the midsection. After a few hours of tugging, the body literally rips apart at the constriction and each half grows replacements of the missing pieces to form two whole new flatworms!

Sometimes larger animals transport flatworms to new places. When a bird, raccoon, or other animal gets mud on its feet, flatworms inside the mud get a free ride. Of course, if the larger animal doesn’t go somewhere with water, the flatworms can dry out and die.

Are flatworms of conservation interest?

We’re not sure yet. Biologists have not conducted a statewide, systematic survey for flatworms so their conservation status really remains unknown. Some flatworms found in Wisconsin are probably nonnative species introduced from other parts of the world, but the potential impacts of these species have not been investigated. Over time, these exotic species may become important predators or competitors of other small invertebrates, resulting in an altered food chain in some habitats.

Can you help study flatworms?

While identifying flatworms poses a challenge (this requires special microscopic techniques), there remains much that can be learned by observing their behaviors, particularly in natural settings. Your local lake might be an ideal spot for making such observations.

See if you can find flatworms dwelling among the stems of submerged plants or on other underwater surfaces. Small pieces of raw meat wedged between rocks can effectively lure them from their hiding places. If you want to look at flatworms up close, use a fine paintbrush to pick them off of objects. Their mucus will adhere to the bristles. Don’t try to pick up flatworms with your fingers though, their delicate bodies will break apart.

Keep notes and share observations you make. An exciting discovery might just be waiting to reveal itself while you’re paying attention to these inconspicuous, but fascinating animals.

By Dreux J. Watermolen
Chief, Science Information Services
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Raking in the Data

New Protocol for Aquatic Plant Surveys

Are you interested in managing a lake or monitoring its health over time? If so, you need aquatic plant data! Over the past several years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has tried to take some of the guesswork out of aquatic plant management.

We recognized that many citizens and lake groups request permits every year to harvest or chemically treat nuisance plants in a lake. Many of these groups have no knowledge of how the plant community might change with chemical treatments or how effective the treatments are at eliminating unwanted plants. We also recognized that we could get more information from our own routine plant sampling surveys and better replicate them in the future by taking advantage of new technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS). To address both issues, we have developed a new plant sampling survey protocol designed to systematically examine all areas of a lake. We can use the information to create maps such as the location of an invasive plant, where the plants grow most densely, or how a rare species is distributed. The surveys will serve as baselines for the future, and will be especially important should there be any changes in the lake. These changes could be in water level or water clarity, a detection of an invasive species, or associated with lake management activities.

This survey design is termed "point-intercept" because we collect data at uniform intervals over the entire lake. First we lay a grid, like a sheet of graph paper, over a map of the lake - all done electronically. Then, we determine the number of sampling points (how close the grid lines are to each other), depending on the acreage of the lake, the shape of the lake basin, and how convoluted the shoreline is. There is a latitude and longitude associated with each intersection point on the grid. These coordinates are loaded into a hand-held GPS unit to take in the boat.

Armed with a lake map, the GPS unit (loaded with GPS points spread over the lake), a couple of sampling rakes and empty data sheets, two or three field workers start the survey. The boat driver navigates to each point using the GPS unit and, once there, the raker scrapes the lake bottom and hauls up the catch. The raker calls out the depth and sediment type (muck, sand or rock) and then identifies every plant species caught on the rake, giving each species an abundance rating of 1 (few plants), 2 (moderate), or 3 (plants overflowing the rake). One person records all the data and keeps track of what has been and still needs to be sampled. The crew collects a sample of each species and later dries it for preservation in an herbarium (a depository for dried plant specimens) at the UW-Madison or UW-Stevens Point campus.

Now you have data! Once the data are collected and entered into a computer, we get summary statistics of the plant community and can also generate maps to help guide informed management decisions. In just two years, the DNR has performed surveys on more than 100 lakes while counties, municipalities, tribes, and consultants working with lake groups are conducting many more. With this state-of-the-art protocol and effort, Wisconsin will have one of the best databases on lake plants in the country. It is only fitting to know as much as possible about our treasured lakes so that we can make the wisest management plans

By Susan Knight
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources & UW-Madison Center for Limnology and
Jen Hauxwell
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Aquatic Invasive Species: New Faces & New Opportunities

Julia Solomon - Education Specialist

Greetings lake enthusiasts! I began work as Wisconsin’s Aquatic Invasives Education Specialist in October, and am honored to take over this vital role at such an exciting time.

There are a lot of folks all across Wisconsin working to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species—DNR staff, UW-Extension staff, university researchers, county personnel, and, of course, lake association members and local volunteers. My job is to stand at the intersection of all of these different groups, connecting people with the resources that they need. I make sure that these people are in touch with each other and that we’re all presenting the same message.

My goal is to slow the spread of aquatic invasives by motivating people to change their behavior. I am constantly inspired by the many passionate citizens working tirelessly on behalf of Wisconsin’s lakes and waterways. Chances are that you’re one of them. Thank you very much for the work that you do!

Please contact me with any questions that you have about aquatic invasive species. I look forward to meeting and working with you!

Julia Solomon
Aquatic Invasives Education Specialist
UW Extension & WI Department of Natural Resources
Phone: (608) 267-3531 (DNR)
(608) 261-1092 (UWEX)

Erin Henegar - Volunteer Coordinator

I am excited about taking on Laura Felda-Marquardt’s work with the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program. I understand what a great program this is and look forward to the challenges of helping communities to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

While growing up in East Tennessee, I enjoyed exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my parents. Backpacking and camping in the "Smokies" and other natural areas opened my eyes to the innate beauty and value of all living things and developed my aspirations to preserve the natural environment. My experiences and education solidified my desire to be part of the environmental workforce.

I look forward to learning more about what Wisconsin is doing to deal with the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and how I can contribute to the solution. I am thrilled to be working with Wisconsin’s citizens as the AIS Volunteer Coordinator and excited to meet AIS volunteers, both veterans and newcomers.

Erin Henegar
Aquatic Invasive Species Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (715) 346-4978

Ways to get involved:

  1. Become a Clean Boats, Clean Waters volunteer at your local boat landing, educating boaters about aquatic invasives and inspecting boats as they enter and leave the water
  2. Join the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network to help collect scientific data on the health of your lake
  3. Raise purple loosestrife biocontrol beetles to release in your local wetland 

Life According to SCORP

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) sounds like one of those international underworld groups we see in a Bond movie. So what is SCORP and why is it important? Lake Tides takes a peek at the facts and figures according to SCORP to learn about the future of Wisconsin water recreation and lake use trends.

What is SCORP?

In 1965 Congress passed the Federal Land and Waters Conservation Fund Act (LWCF) to help states develop and maintain their outdoor recreation. This act requires states to develop a Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) to be eligible for LWCF funds. In Wisconsin the funds are administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and are used for outdoor recreational projects by state and local governments. Over the past 31 years, LWCF has provided Wisconsin with over $70 million, which has been used on 1750 recreational purchases, facility developments and rehabilitations.
Every five years, DNR develops a new SCORP, which is the basis for all LWCF funding decisions.


Wisconsin’s population is growing. Projections push the total population to 6.1 million by 2020. For all these people, there are about 5.7 million acres of land open for public recreation. The "Baby Boomer" generation is maturing and some of the activities they once enjoyed such as downhill skiing and using personal watercraft are being replaced by more passive pursuits. The younger generation is leading the growth in new outdoor recreation such as paintball, kayaking, and geocaching (hunting treasures with GPS).

This growing and changing population will impact our lakes and waters. Wisconsin’s SCORP can help answer the questions of what will become of our quality recreational experiences and what may happen to the health of our waters and lands.

SCORP is full of great information on our health as it relates to recreation, as well as how we use our precious recreational time. You can see the complete SCORP at

Water We Like to Do?

Water based activities are among the most popular in Wisconsin. Out of a list of 96 possible outdoor activities, here are some of the rankings:
#1 - 85% of people walk for pleasure
#2 - 79% enjoy outdoor family gatherings
#3 - 67% photograph nature
#13 - 47% visit beaches
#14 - 46% swim in lakes
#18 - 41% go fishing
#25 - 36% enjoy motorboating

Lake Planning Series

Common Lake Grant Pitfalls

Lake grants are a powerful tool to help Wisconsinites protect and preserve our lakes. Since their introduction in the early ’90s almost 25 million lake grant dollars have been invested to assist people who care about Wisconsin lakes. Has your organization experienced the grant process? Learn how to avoid some of the common pitfalls and implement a better grant.

For the last 13 years I’ve helped coordinate Wisconsin’s lake grant program. A lot of the job is troubleshooting, and while each year new issues arise, some common mistakes can be easily avoided. The most significant and common problems fall into three basic categories: technical, social and financial.


Some lake plans propose a management action without a clear understanding of the lake’s underlying ecology. In these cases, the sponsors believe they know what the problems and solutions are and simply go about developing a plan that reflects their views. Key data or environmental considerations are overlooked which can later derail the planning process. Understanding the ecological potential and limits of a lake system are essential, and this information can be easily obtained by consulting with staff from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) early in the grant process.


Sometimes plans are developed by a small group of people who propose management actions without the involvement of a broader public. When these plans are submitted for approval and other lake users are either opposed to the plan or have no knowledge of the project in the first place, it puts everyone in a tough position. Broad stakeholder involvement and a good survey of lake shore owners and lake users are essential to successful lake planning.

A comprehensive assessment of the lake’s ecological present and past conditions, coupled with a balanced assessment of how people perceive the lake and how they intend to utilize the resource, will provide the foundation for a solid community-based lake management plan. All the knowledge and issues need to get out on the table first. This can be a time consuming exercise, and may be frustrating at times, but it will pay off down the road.
Begin with an appraisal of your lake and a pre-application consultation with your regional DNR Lake Coordinator early in the process. This consultation can save you time, money and frustration.


The most important financial decision is to make sure that the product you receive contains all the deliverables that are specified in the grant agreement. The DNR can withhold 25% of the grant award as a final payment until it determines that the project has been satisfactorily completed. A hasty final payment to a consultant can result in an unfinished project or even a loss for the sponsor. If a consultant requests a final payment, the sponsor should make sure the DNR has received a review copy of the final report, and perhaps schedule a joint review meeting.

The lakes, lake users and taxpayers contributing toward the grant program deserve and demand good work. Give your group time to plan ahead, and utilize all of its resources. The groundwork you lay for your planning process will predict your level of success.

Existing information about your lake and advice on how to involve people in your project can be obtained through your regional DNR Lake Coordinator.

By Carroll Schaal
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Northwest Lakes Conference

Lakes are at the heart of Northern Wisconsin’s identity and economy. Waterfront property owners, local decision-makers, and lake enthusiasts will gather June 21-22 at Telemark Resort in Cable to share strategies for assuring their continued protection.

Patty Loew will provide an insightful and historical perspective of Wisconsin’s treaty rights in her keynote address, First Stewards, First Nations of Wisconsin. Loew is producer for WHA-TV (PBS) and co-host of
In Wisconsin, a weekly news and public affairs program that airs statewide on Wisconsin Public Television. Her work in environmental reporting and video documentary production has earned her numerous awards. Loew is also associate professor of Life Sciences Communication at UW-Madison and a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

A series of sessions at the conference will help lake communities take proactive steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Following the arrival of Eurasian water milfoil in their lake community, citizens from the Town of Barnes in Bayfield County mobilized a large scale effort to address the challenges they faced. The Barnes Eau Claire Lakes Association will share their experience in launching a Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, public education campaign, and aquatic plant surveys of 27 lakes in the township.

Other highlights at this year’s event include topics on how to improve fish and wildlife habitat at our favorite lakes. Area sport fishing group leaders will describe their efforts to enhance fisheries and discuss ways in which lakeshore owners, lake organizations, and sport fishing groups can work together to improve aquatic habitat and water quality. Representatives of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Natural Resources Board, and State Legislature will share their insights on the many ways that citizens can participate in important natural resource policy decisions.

Hands-on workshops and fun networking opportunities will also be offered on Thursday, June 21:
  • Monitoring for aquatic invasive species beyond the boat landing, and the Clean Boats Clean Waters volunteer watercraft inspection training program
  • Fundraising for nonprofit organizations
  • Pontoon Classroom on Namakagon Lake
  • BBQ picnic
  • The Beauty and Challenges of Russia’s Lakes—a photo journey to Russia’s amazing lakes and landscapes.
The 9th annual conference is designed by local lake leaders from the five countywide lake associations of Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Sawyer, and Washburn Counties with assistance from the UW-Extension and Wisconsin Association of Lakes (WAL).

Visit WAL’s website for program details and registration: or call the WAL office for a brochure (800-542-5253 or 608-662-0923).

New Duties and a New Voice at UWEX Lakes

Expanding Opportunities

Kim Becken, Office Manager & Outreach Specialist
UWEX Lakes’ Kim Becken will expand her duties as an Outreach Specialist. She will be coordinating the Lake Leaders Institute, the Wisconsin Lakes Convention, and enhancing the Wisconsin lake organization directory, the Lake List. Kim will continue some of her duties as Office Manager and work closely with staff from UW-Extension Lakes, UW-Stevens Point, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, County Extension, local government and the general public to assist with lake-related questions.

Kim will be working on various outreach projects and is currently coordinating with local libraries to get Lakes Partnership resources in the hands of the general public. You can contact Kim at or (715) 346-2116.

Jessica Tomaszewski, Office Assistant
When calling the general UW-Extension Lakes office number at 715-346-2116, you may hear a new voice! With the transition of Kim’s duties, UW-Extension Lakes welcomes a new team member. Jessica Tomaszewski comes to us from a forestry outreach program on the UW-Stevens Point campus. She will be supporting the Lakes Program through general office assistance, database upkeep and publication sales. She will also help direct lake organizations and others to the necessary resources and specialists.

We welcome Jessica to the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. You can contact her at or (715) 346-2116.


June 2, 2007 - Natural Shoreline Expo
Join the Land and Water Conservation Department for a free day of fun. 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Sunnyview Expo Center/Fairgrounds, Oshkosh. Exhibits, demonstrations, and presentations.
For more information: Keith Marquardt (920) 232-1950

June 2-3, 2007 - Free Fishing Weekend
The first full weekend in June is designated as a Free Fishing Weekend throughout Wisconsin. Both residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license. All other fishing regulations (length limits, bag limits, etc.) apply. For more information contact Theresa Stabo at or (608) 266-2272 or log on to

July 2007 - Lakes Appreciation Month
Celebrate by entering the NALMS Lakes Appreciation Poster Contest. For more information and ideas to celebrate your lake:

August 1, 2007 - Aquatic Invasive Species & Lake Planning Grants Due
For more information or to obtain application forms go to:

August 16, 2007 - Project WET Professional Development & Teacher Training
For more information: Jayne Jenks at or
(262) 896-8305 or go to:


Water links us to our
neighbor in a way more
profound and complex than
 any other.
- John Thorson

Lake Tides -- 905032

College of Natural Resources
University of Wisconsin
800 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Volume 32 No. 2
Spring 2007
Wisconsin Lakes Partnership

Published Quarterly
Phone: 715-346-2116
Editor: Amy Kowalski
Design & Layout: Amy Kowalski
Contributing Editors: Robert Korth and Tiffany Lyden, UWEX; Carroll Schaal, DNR
Photos by: Robert Korth (unless otherwise noted)
Illustrations by: Carol Watkins, Chris Whalen
The contents of Lake Tides do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of UW-Extension, UWSP-CNR, the Wisconsin DNR or the Wisconsin Association of Lakes. Mention of trade names, commercial products, private businesses or publicly financed programs does not constitute endorsement. Lake Tides welcomes articles, letters or other news items for publication. Articles in Lake Tides may be reprinted or reproduced for further distribution with acknowledgment to the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership. If you need this material in an alternative format, please contact our office. No state tax revenue supported the printing of this document.

©1993- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point