The FREE newsletter for people interested in Wisconsin Lakes
Volume 32 No. 3 Summer 2007
Short-Term Lake Home Rentals
An Emerging Issue
Short-term rentals of lake homes are becoming increasingly common in Wisconsin. Renting out the lake home to a stranger for a week can be seen as a relatively painless way to raise some money for taxes and other expenses, but there may be others who end up paying a price. Neighbors, area businesses, and the lake resource itself could potentially suffer from the changes brought about by short-term rentals. This article explores some potential public policy questions that short-term rentals might raise.
Why is this an issue now?
It has never been easier for the owner of a vacation home to find a stranger who wants to rent their property. The Internet has created a potential world-wide market. A number of firms have developed to assist homeowners to list and manage their home for renters for small fees. Less expensive options can be found through free listing sites like Craigslist.com. Unlike old-fashioned classified ads, the Web allows for multiple color photos and virtually unlimited text. Online calendars, email and cell phones make the scheduling process more manageable.
It has also never been more attractive to rent a vacation home, both from the owner’s and the renter’s financial perspectives. The amount of revenue a homeowner might yield depends largely on the qualities of their home, the prestige of its location, and their own efforts and willingness to give up their vacation property at key times of the year. Million-dollar lake properties in Wisconsin are advertised for rental rates as high as $4,000/week during peak summer periods. Most lake homes range from $1000 to $2000/week, and some offer one-night and weekend only rates.
The market of potential renters, also benefited by the Internet, seems to be growing. As prices for lake homes grow, more and more people are being priced out of the ownership market. The coming retirement of the baby boom generation is likely to see many cabins converted into full-time residences, limiting the ability of family members to share properties. As travel costs grow, there will be an increasing interest in vacationing close to home. The short-term lake home rental offers many options that the old mom-and-pop resorts may lack: their own personal dock, a fully functional kitchen, modern furnishings including LCD televisions and leather sofas, personal hot tubs and luxury baths.
The underlying economic model is powerful enough to encourage more and more people to participate in larger-scale commercial rental property ventures. Many existing resorts already have "gone condo" to effectively shed most of their property tax liability. New condos are being built in lake and resort areas using the short-term rental possibility as a key selling point. Management firms typically handle a number of key responsibilities that could otherwise cause problems, including licensing, sales taxes processing, oversight of tenants, and property upkeep. Professional management, combined with the fairly self-evident status of resorts as places where guests come and go, can make the ongoing operation of condo-resorts less problematic than do-it-yourself operations.
Troubles at Home
Unlike resorts, individuals who rent out their home are susceptible to several sources of concern. The most prominent issue relates to the legal nature of such operation. Wisconsin Statutes (Ch. 254) specify health and sanitary requirements for operating all overnight rental establishments and require an annual permit of "tourist rooming houses", defined as "any lodging place or tourist cabin or cottage where sleeping accommodations are offered for pay to tourists or transients." In the strict legal sense, short-term home rentals are illegal if the homeowner lacks the needed permit.
Legal liability for both renters and owners is another potential issue. A homeowner’s insurance policy may not be written to cover damages that come about during commercial use of the property. If and when a client is injured or neglectfully damages property, a series of pressing questions will likely arise to clarify who is liable and whether or not insurance will cover damages. Homeowners would be wise to check with their agent before charging strangers to stay in their cabin.
The zoning of land where the short-term rentals are offered presents still another legal issue. For resorts and resort condominiums, the zoning question is typically handled through either a commercial rezone or a conditional use permit. Vilas County zoning officials mail "cease and desist" letters to homeowners found to be renting their property short-term. Other counties direct them to the conditional use process. A common response is for the homeowner to change their advertising to reflect long-term (one month or more) rentals.
The zoning issues get to the heart of why short-term vacation home rentals may not always be in the public’s best interest. Effective zoning brings about harmonious land uses within each district. The introduction of a short-term rental use in a residential district introduces a commercial use that may seem minor but can have significant negative impacts on neighbors. This can be the case because the short-term renters may lack the same set of norms and experiences that the area residents have developed. The renters may also feel the need to "get the most for their buck" and "vacation hard," meaning that they might bring as many friends and family as can fit and spend as much time as possible in the yard or on the water, fishing or motorboating. The cumulative impact of this more intense use can challenge both the human and the natural community.
At present, attempts to manage the emerging issues brought about by short-term rentals are rather piecemeal, county-by-county affairs. Time will tell if this approach can withstand any significant increase in short-term home rental activities on and around lakes. Many county and state regulators already seem to have their hands full managing development and construction issues. Ideally, any potential conflicts would be worked out by homeowners and their neighbors around the lake, developing a common sense of what should and should not be done with respect to short-term rentals. If this cannot be accomplished, we may see more and more public issues related to short-term home rentals.
Keep Your Cabin Safe
Whether you are renting your cabin out to strangers, sharing it with relatives, or leaving it unoccupied until your next visit, you want to make sure it is safe. Windows and doors are the top two points of entry for residential/cabin burglaries. Forty percent of these burglaries are termed "no force" entries which means the burglar entered through an unlocked door or window. Here are a few tips to help keep your cabin safe.
- Make sure all of your doors and windows are securely locked when you leave.
- Illuminate all entrances (motion-sensored lights work well). Most intruders will not target a well lit residence/cabin. Keep an indoor light on a programmable timer to show the appearance of someone being home.
- Install an alarm system which, when tripped, emits a loud sound bringing attention or law enforcement to the area.
- Make sure that valuables are out of sight, and use window shades/curtains that don’t allow prying eyes to see what is inside.
- Keep all outdoor items picked up and put away. If you do not have storage space for your boats or larger outdoor equipment make sure you record the serial numbers, take pictures of them, and lock/chain them to secure objects.
Burglars usually spend under 60 seconds attempting to gain entry into a home. The more difficult you make your residence/cabin to enter, and the less visible you make your possessions, the greater the chance an intruder will just move on to an easier target.
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VHS - Summer Update
In the last issue of Lake Tides (Spring 2007, Vol. 32, No. 2) we discussed a new addition to the list of aquatic invasive species (AIS), a virus that kills fish called viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). At the time it was thought to be only in the Lower Great Lakes, but it surfaced in Little Lake Butte des Morts, near Appleton, and has since been found in Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan. The potential ramification of VHS to Wisconsin fisheries could be huge. According to a recent study (http://basineducation.uwex.edu/foxwolf/economics) the economic impact of angling on the Lake Winnebago system alone is $234 million. Angling also provides 4,300 jobs in that area. With this in mind, the state has responded in a serious manner.
Emergency rules were passed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for waters where VHS is present, and those rules will automatically go state-wide if the virus is found outside these waters. The rules stop the movement of live fish, fish eggs, fish parts and water from locations where the disease has been found or is suspected. The use and sale of minnows has been restricted. Now, only minnows from Wisconsin bait dealers can be used for fishing. Under the emergency rules, no live fish (including suckers) may be transported away from Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior or the Mississippi River. All waters must be drained from boats, live wells and bait buckets, and no live fish can be transported away from waters known to contain VHS. The use of dead bait, including frozen bait (other than in waters already containing VHS), is prohibited.
Mike Staggs, the DNR Director of Fisheries Management, stated that "the DNR is not planning on closing any boat landings or enacting any new restrictions on anglers or boaters. While VHS is a very serious fish health threat and could have negative impacts on fisheries, we do not want to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ in our response. Angling and boating are major recreational activities in Wisconsin. By taking reasonable steps such as draining water, not moving live fish, and working with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to improve the screening of the bait fish supply, we can dramatically cut down on the risk of spreading VHS, while encouraging the responsible use of our aquatic resources."
The DNR has enacted a rigorous testing program across Wisconsin. A total of 121 samples of wild fish have been sent in for testing since 2006, and as of June 2007, 93 samples had tested negative for VHS. While only Lake Michigan and the Lake Winnebago system have produced samples that tested positive, results are still pending for 28 samples. The virus dies in water above 59oF and may be dormant in fish when the water is warm, which is why fish kills have slowed this summer. Although infected fish can still carry VHS, the low viral levels in the fish would make it difficult to detect. Staggs said, "Here is the bottom line…despite looking all over the state, we’ve only found the disease in northern Lake Michigan and Lake Winnebago. That means there is a lot of uninfected water in Wisconsin, and we still have a great opportunity to keep this potentially destructive fish disease out of the vast majority of Wisconsin’s waters. Despite being in Wisconsin for decades, earlier aquatic invasive species such as rusty crayfish, zebra mussels and Eurasian water-milfoil have not spread to all Wisconsin waters, and we have acted quickly and definitively with measures to stop or slow the spread of VHS," noted Staggs.
Getting the Word Out
If there is an upside to VHS, it may be how well local and state press spread the word about cleaning boats and trailers of plants, mud and water. There were weeks of very heavy news coverage on TV, radio and newspaper, which quickly spread the word on VHS in the Green Bay and the Fox Valley area in particular, and across the state in general. This type of coverage is invaluable during times of tight budgets and limited resources. There have been no new outbreaks recently, and as a result of the short attention span of our culture, public concern seems to have faded.
A major educational campaign is underway with UW-Extension, DNR, DATCP, local fish clubs and local governments. Printed materials are available at the DNR web site and from UW-Extension Lakes. Speakers on the subject are also available for meetings. UW-Oshkosh students working with Dr. Michael Lizotte and the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program have been conducting watercraft inspections and education at many of the Winnebago Pool landings. Public service announcements are playing on radio and TV as part of a media campaign by DNR.
Learning to Live with VHS
Researchers do not yet know the temperature ranges for the new strain of VHS, but there are some indications this new strain can be active in fish at water temperatures higher than the European strain of VHS. Stressors, including poor water quality or lack of food, release stress hormones that suppress a fish’s immune system. For example, the 2005 fish kills in the Great Lakes occurred just before, during or immediately following the spawning period. An adult fish can produce antibodies against the virus, and once it has the antibodies it may be protected from future infection. Mike Staggs reminded us that "even though there is clearly less publicity about VHS than earlier this year, it is not gone. Waters that get VHS will likely always have VHS, and we’re simply going to have to learn to live with that fact."
By Robert Korth, UW-Extension Lakes
You Can Help!
We are counting on everyone to do what they can to help stop the spread of VHS. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent the spread.
- DRAIN all water from your boat, motor, bilge, live wells, and fishing equipment, including bait buckets and coolers, before leaving the lake or shoreline.
- TAKE NO LIVE FISH or fish eggs, including bait minnows, from infected waters. Ice your catch, and dispose of your minnows in covered waste barrels.
- INSPECT and REMOVE all aquatic plants, animals, and mud from your boat, trailer, and equipment before leaving the landing.
- REPORT large numbers of dead or dying fish to the DNR Tipline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR (847-9367).
CLMN Volunteer Update
With summer in full swing, most volunteer citizen lake monitors have been out monitoring and keeping an eye on the health of Wisconsin’s lakes. Many people have been emailing and calling about conditions they have seen. Low lake levels seem to be an issue in many parts of the state. People also commented that aquatic plants came up early and the pondweeds were in seed by the first week of July. Things were certainly a few weeks ahead of schedule this year.
Here are some updates for volunteer monitors and others interested in the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network (CLMN).
The CLMN web site has recently been updated. You can find local contacts, download publications (i.e. manuals, data forms, plant scan laminates, lists of lakes with Aquatic Invasive Species), and also view the training workshop schedule for secchi and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) monitoring. There are some quick links to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) web site with information on special projects (i.e. Secchi Dip-In, remote sensing) and lake data. Be sure to visit www.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/CLMN
for all the latest information.
Entering Your Data
Our database manager, Jennifer Filbert, has worked her magic on the data entry process. For those of you who had a bit of a problem entering data on the web last year, you will be pleased to learn the process is a lot easier now. There is a step-by-step guide available in the "Active Volunteers" section of the CLMN web site. There are also a few quick links to the DNR site which include other helpful information on submitting data.
New Training Opportunities
We are trying out a new concept in order to reach folks wishing to be trained in water clarity (secchi) and AIS. We are working with Land and Water Conservation staff, Resource Conservation and Development staff, Basin Educators, Lake Leaders and current CLMN volunteers to assist with trainings and host workshops. This winter we will evaluate the successes of the new partnership and see how far we can expand. Preliminary feedback has been very positive. Some of these "volunteer trainers" will be contacting other volunteers in their counties to see if they can offer refreshers or assistance with data collection and entry.
Ten percent of the lakes being monitored for total phosphorus and chlorophyll through the CLMN have been randomly selected to participate in the collection of Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) samples this summer. You will be notified by the DNR if your lake has been selected. The DNR will provide you with all of the necessary equipment, lab slips and shipping materials. The purpose of the QA/QC samples is to document the accuracy and precision of the field data collected by volunteers in the network. We will look at both natural variability and sampling error. This procedure will continue each year on randomly selected lakes to assure we get reliable chemistry data. We will share the outcomes from this study next spring.
With Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) documented in Wisconsin inland lakes, we need to modify our procedures for equipment sharing. We recommend you do not loan your equipment to other lakes. By not sharing, we will reduce the chances of spreading AIS and aquatic diseases such as VHS. Those lakes that are currently sharing sampling equipment should contact their CLMN coordinator to discuss how best to deal with this. We will try to get equipment for each lake involved in the sampling process.
Thanks to all of the lake monitors for a great summer season!
Lake District Q&A
Q: Does a lake district need to get bids?
A: If a lake district enters into a contract for the performance of any work or the purchase of materials over $2,500, bids must be obtained. Wis. Stat. § 33.22(1)
The statutes do not specify the procedure for soliciting bids, but most lake districts prepare a written request for proposals, specifying the work or material required and a deadline for bids. Typically lake districts contact vendors or contractors directly to request proposals. The Lake List is a great online directory to find businesses that provide lake-related equipment and services (www.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/lakelist
For large-scale projects it is a good idea to follow more formal bidding procedures, including detailed plans and specifications, and specially prepared bidding documents.
The board of commissioners is required to award the work to the lowest responsible bidder. This is interpreted to mean that if the commissioners feel a contractor will not be able to perform the work adequately, they are not obligated to award the work to that bidder.
If Plants Could Talk
Eurasian Water-milfoil Transcribed
One August day, a tired biologist kneeled down to examine a plant in the shallows of a lake. The light summer breeze carried songs of red-winged blackbirds and whispers of cattails, but there was another voice, something new. Amazingly, it was the plant - it started talking! What follows is a transcription of the plant’s story.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Eurasian water-milfoil, but you can call me EWM. I want to tell you about where I came from, how I got here, and why I need your help to stick around.
Coming to America
My ancestors came to this country from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. My great, great, great grandparents lived in a small lake near the Caspian Sea. They lived there until some of them got swept-up into a bucket of fish—common carp, I am told—and were shipped to a fish farm in Germany. There, they lived for many generations. And then, once again, some of my ancestors got stuck in a bucket of "German" carp and were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to a government pond in Washington D.C. Somehow, those ancestors of mine survived, even raised families. But it was a boring life in that fish pond. Boring, that is, until someone drained the pond. The next thing they knew, those ancestors were floating down the Potomac River. Others were dropping from a boat in a New Jersey lake. Some reached a pond in Georgia. Still other milfoil ancestors were growing in an impoundment of the Ohio River.
Imagine the thrill of finding yourself in a new lake, a new river! Just grow more shoots, more roots, perhaps some flowers and seeds…and the New World would be yours!
But it didn’t happen that way. And that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You see, life in America wasn’t so good, at least, not at first.
My ancestors came to America around 1940. Things were different then. The shallows of those lakes and rivers were crowded with other plants. There were pondweeds and coontail and even my distant cousin, northern water- milfoil. Most of those greenies, and many others, were native to America. Somehow, my ancestors had to compete with them for food and space and sunshine.
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, things were different in yet other ways. Those creatures called humans were less abundant. They had fewer boats and smaller boat motors. They built cabins, set back from natural lakeshores. With fewer shoreline disturbances, those pondweeds and native milfoils could thrive. My ancestors, on the other hand, barely managed to get by. And yet, they did spread and occasionally did thrive. But always they had to face those native competitor plants.
Down and Rebound
Then things began to change. The human population was growing. And with more humans came more wealth, more leisure, and more technology. Those 6-hp Jon boats became 200-hp runabouts. Those seasonal cabins became year-round mansions, with lush lawns and concrete seawalls. Each shoreline disturbance took its toll on those native pondweeds. Their numbers dwindled. Gradually, sunshine reached the lake bottoms. With the sun came a burst of energy from my great, great grandparents. They grew new shoots, with tall stems and lush leaves. Now it was the pondweeds and those native milfoils that couldn’t compete.
But then, those humans began to use weed harvesters and chemical poisons to stop the growth of my ancestors. At first, things looked pretty bleak, not only for my grandparents but also for those pondweeds and native milfoils. For the same weed harvesters and chemicals that killed my ancestors also killed those native plants, the ones we had to compete with. Things looked pretty low.
But then a strange thing began to happen. As the weed harvesters snipped and the chemical herbicides narced existing foliage, lake and river beds opened to new plant growth. And were we ready! Lying on those lake beds, often for many years, were roots and stems of us milfoils that had escaped the harvester’s axe and the chemist’s poison. Our stocky roots and creepy stems could grow toward the sun and across lake beds that now harbored fewer pondweeds and native milfoils. Thanks to over-aggressive harvestings and whole-lake treatments with non-selective chemicals, a new generation of us non-native plants could thrive and grow lush plant beds, nearly free of competing plants.
With the increase in human population—their technology and greater use of lakes—came new opportunities for us Eurasian water-milfoil to become even more abundant than possible in earlier years.
Call for Help
I call upon you to help us EWM. We need your boats and boots and buckets to spread our foliage. We need more motor boats on those waters, more shoreline disturbances, more whole-lake treatments with harvesters and chemicals. In short, we need your help in keeping down those competitor plants, in opening more lake and river beds to our roots and stems. With your help, we EWM can thrive and ultimately dominate many more lakes and rivers in your state.
So to all of you human creatures, I say "Keep the EWM fragments coming, the shorelines disturbed, and the native plants down."
Recorded and transcribed by that (re)tired biologist, Sandy Engel
Phragmites Australis a.k.a. "Phrankengrass"
This is the story of a relatively new and invasive inhabitant of Wisconsin’s wetlands and shorelines. The bad seed in this story is a non-native strain of Phragmites australis, otherwise known as common reed grass. Unfortunately, in some places it is becoming all too common. It is usually found in wetlands, roadside ditches, and disturbed areas like shorelines now exposed because of low water levels.
This grass is not an ordinary, garden-variety grass. In the world of grasses, non-native phragmites (pronounced frag-mahy-teez) is a "monster." Able to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and aggressive in nature, it can form dense, impenetrable stands that displace wildlife and native plant communities. In many cases it can grow thick enough to shade out shrubs and small trees. Growth along shorelines can inhibit navigation and block shore views. Imagine a lush lawn of Kentucky bluegrass growing 15 feet tall and you have the idea.
Phragmites is a perennial grass that thrives in moist soils. Its reeds, or canes, are unbranched, rigid and hollow and can reach heights over 12 feet. A large, feathery seed head is produced in late July through September. Like all grasses, phragmites dies back to the ground in late fall. The canes are tough enough to remain standing for a few years after they die.
Phragmites spreads primarily by vegetative reproduction. Thick, intertwined roots can reach six feet deep while rhizomes (horizontal roots) spread the plant laterally. The plant also sends out stolons, or runners, with nodes every foot or so that are each capable of growing a new plant. Stolons from aggressive strains of phragmites can easily exceed fifty feet in a single growing season.
Native to many places in the world, phragmites has been and continues to be harvested by numerous cultures for a variety of purposes. For example, its long, strong canes make excellent roof thatch material. Native phragmites exists in Wisconsin and grows in sparse stands interspersed harmoniously with a variety of other native plants. It does not usually reach more than 8 feet tall. Its invasive cousin originated in Eurasia and poses a double threat here in North America. It not only out-competes native phragmites, it also interbreeds with the native strain, thus strengthening the aggressive tendencies of future plants.
Because phragmites can be so aggressive, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends landowners watch for new stands of phragmites and control it before it has a chance to expand.
The best solution for control depends upon the location and density of the growth, and its proximity to more desirable vegetation. Considering that phragmites is a grass and has a thick root system, manual control efforts can be labor intensive. Digging and frequent mowing can keep phragmites in check, but may not kill it.
If your control will include the use of herbicides, you may need a permit. A permit is always required if the proposed treatment area is wet at the time of treatment. The rule of thumb is as follows: if you were to stand in the area where you plan to apply herbicides with just socks on your feet and your socks get damp, you need a permit. No permit is needed if the area is dry. Regardless if wet or dry, a product with an aquatic label must be used if you are treating below the ordinary high water mark. Habitat®, Rodeo® and other glyphosate formulations have aquatic labels. Roundup® does not have an aquatic label, so it cannot be used, even on dry exposed beach areas. Habitat® can only be applied by a certified applicator.
Whatever control methods are employed, follow up is necessary as some of the root system will survive. A moderate stand of phragmites can take 3-4 years to control.
Reviewed by Mary Gansberg
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources
For more information on the biology and identification of phragmites:
For information on control methods and permit requirements:
Clean Boats, Clean Waters:
The Value of Data Entry
If you haven’t started entering your boat inspection data for this summer, now is the time to take on that pile of watercraft inspection daily work diaries that has been cluttering your table! So far in 2007, data have been entered by more than 35 people that represent over 127 boat landings. There are over 411 days worth of entries, which tops the number of entries that had been made by this time last year. This is great news! The information recorded during watercraft inspections is extremely important to the Clean Boats, Clean Waters (CBCW) program.
In the gathered data, many positive trends can be seen, such as an increase in boater awareness of aquatic invasive species and boater behavior in checking their watercraft for invasive species. This useful information is shared with legislators annually and helps justify the need for the future funding of grants and state support for volunteers at the landings. So, the records you keep at the boat landings really do make a difference!
This year, our database manager Jennifer Filbert has worked hard to make online data entry clearer and easier for volunteers. Detailed instructions on how to obtain a username and password and how to enter data are available on the CBCW homepage. To enter your data, go to https://dnrx.wisconsin.gov/swims/
or you can click on the link from the CBCW homepage.
Help keep up the current rate of data entry and make 2007 a record year for CBCW in the amount of data gathered. Thanks so much to all of you who volunteer your time to help keep Wisconsin’s lakes healthy! We look forward to sharing the 2007 data with all of you this fall.
Entering Data: Good Things to Know
- If the computer will not accept your mailing address while registering for a user ID and password, just leave the whole address blank. There is a bug that causes it not to accept some addresses.
- Only one entry per landing per day can be recorded in the database. So, when entering your data, make sure you total everything for that day.
- You do not have to enter the time shifts for each individual volunteer – only the total amount of time spent at that landing that day. However, if you’d like to keep track of the data anyway, you can record it on your own or enter it in the ‘Comments’ area.
- If you are unsure of the name of your landing, you can click ‘Show Map’ to see where
it is located. If your landing is not listed, you can contact Jennifer Filbert to have a
Call for Presenters
30th Wisconsin Lakes Convention
In 2008, the Wisconsin Lakes Convention celebrates its 30th birthday! We will reflect on the accomplishments we have achieved by working together these past 30+ years and explore ways to build on those successes. The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership is inviting lake organization members, resource professionals, researchers, students and other lake enthusiasts to submit proposals for educational presentations, field trips and hands-on workshops for the 2008 Wisconsin Lakes Convention.
This convention focuses on the state of Wisconsin lakes, how they have changed over time, and what we have collectively learned over the past 30 years. Come celebrate the pure enjoyment of our state’s greatest resource! Sessions will feature topics such as:
- lake science and management
- public policy
- lake organizations
- wildlife and aquatic plants
- shoreland issues
Presentations that highlight local lake management experiences are encouraged.
Submission guidelines and an application form can be found on the UWEX-Lakes web site at www.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/conventions
. If you would like an application form in hard copy,
contact us at 715-346-2116.
Proposal Deadline: October 5, 2007.
Do you have a success story that should be shared but aren’t sure about submitting a proposal? Contact us and we will work with you to make sure your story gets heard!
WAL Has New Walls
The Wisconsin Association of Lakes (WAL) has moved! They are still located in Madison, working to influence legislation to benefit Wisconsin’s lakes. If you are not familiar with this association, you’ll want to check out their web site at www.wisconsinlakes.org
. Support their work and your lakes by becoming a member.
New contact information:
4513 Vernon BLVD, Suite 101
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Nominate a Local Lake Steward
Do you know an outstanding person or group who dedicates time and talent to our state’s water resources? We encourage you to nominate them for the prestigious Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Award. For more information call the Wisconsin Association of Lakes at 608-661-4313 or www.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/conventions
Resident Bacteria May Help Clean Phosphorus from Lakes
In recent years, Madison residents have focused new attention on water quality problems, such as the unsightly, odoriferous blue-green algae blooms caused by an overload of phosphorus within area lakes.
In reality, those problems began in the city more than a century ago. They originated in an era when "wastewater treatment" meant dumping largely untreated sewage back into the lakes, says Katherine McMahon, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Phosphorus is something that once it gets into the lakes, it’s very hard to get out," she says.
McMahon received a prestigious $400,000 National Science Foundation award, which provides early-career support for creative projects that integrate research and education, to investigate this water quality challenge. She will use her expertise in wastewater engineering and biology to study how the bacterial community affects phosphorus cycling in different eutrophied lakes.
For three years, she will collect weekly bacteria samples from Madison-area Lakes Mendota and Wingra during ice-off seasons, as well as monthly samples when the lakes are frozen. Likewise, her collaborator, Guang Gao of the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology in China, will sample Lake Taihu, a lake that supplies drinking water to 40 million people in Shanghai and surrounding cities.
Ultimately, McMahon hopes her research will contribute to a future solution to excess phosphorus in any lake. "Eutrophication of freshwater lakes is a problem everywhere in the developed world, as well as in many developing countries," she says.
By Renee Meiller, UW-Madison
Northern DNR Region Expands Support for Lakes
We are pleased to announce that Jim Kreitlow has accepted a brand new position as a Lake Coordinator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the Northern Region.
Now we will have three DNR Lake Coordinators in the Northern Region, each covering six counties. This will expand the abilities of the northern DNR Lake Coordinators to serve the public. Jim will cover the central counties in the north (Ashland, Iron, Price, Rusk, Sawyer and Taylor), working with lake grants and lake issues. (Pamela Toshner covers the western counties and Kevin Gauthier covers the eastern counties of the DNR Northern Region.)
Jim may be familiar to some folks in northern Wisconsin. He has an extensive background in water resources, having spent most of his 22 years with the DNR working on water quality issues in northern Wisconsin, both as a water resources biologist and a watershed team supervisor.
Jim is a seasoned professional who brings excellent skills and experience to the position. We welcome him to his new role in the Lakes Partnership.
August 14, 15, 16, 20 & 23, 2007 – Hearings for Chapters NR 19 and 20
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearings on revisions to chapters NR 19 and 20, relating to control of fish diseases and invasive species. The proposed rule makes permanent and clarifies recent emergency measures for the control and prevention of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) in Wisconsin waters.
August 14, Fitchburg - DNR South Central Region Hdqrs.,
3911 Fish Hatchery Road.
August 15, La Crosse - Room B19, La Crosse State Office Bldg.,
3550 Mormon Coulee Road.
August 16, Milwaukee - Room 140, DNR Southeast Region Hdqrs.,
2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
August 20, Green Bay - Wetland Room, Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary,
1660 East Shore Drive.
August 23, Wausau - Upstairs Meeting Room, State Highway Patrol Hdqrs.,
2805 Martin Ave.
August 23, Superior - Classroom, Superior Public Library,
1530 Tower Ave.
September 2007 – Wisconsin Coastal Awareness Month
The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), a worldwide event since 1986, is coordinated each September by the Ocean Conservancy and has been happening in Wisconsin since 1989. Each year the ICC gathers data from the debris collected on waterways around the world. In 2006 alone, over 7 million pounds of garbage was collected by over 358,000 volunteers. For more information: www.coastalcleanup.org
or contact Kae DonLevy at 414-588-0617 or email@example.com
October 5-6, 2007 – 4th Annual Citizen-Based Monitoring Conference
Devil’s Head Resort and Convention Center, Merrimac. For more information: http://cbm.wiatri.net/Conference/
or contact Angela Engelman, Ecological Inventory and Monitoring Section, DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources, at 608-266-5241.
October 18-20, 2007 – Midwest Environmental Education Conference
Titled "No Child Left Inside," this conference will offer concurrent sessions and workshops that will allow time for hands-on and interactive experiences (and time to go outside!) - Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
October 30-November 2, 2007 – NALMS 2007 Symposium
Man is a complex
being; he makes deserts
bloom and lakes die.
~ Gil Stern
Lake Tides -- 905032
College of Natural Resources
University of Wisconsin
800 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Volume 32 No. 3
Wisconsin Lakes Partnership
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.