Turtle River Watershed Management Conference recap

Fifty-four people representing 31 local and statewide organizations attended last Wednesday’s conference at the Great Northern Hotel, which was highlighted by speakers from the Wisconsin DNR, the Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department, and the ICLRA. A recap of the day’s events was published in this week’s Iron County Miner and is reprinted here. Of special interest to me was the presentation by Alison Mikulyuk of the WDNR outling the structure of the support systems that exist in the state to maintain the health of our waterways and address problems that might arise. She was kind enough to share her presentation, and you can read it here.

My takeaway at the end of the afternoon was that there are definite threats upriver to the health of Lake of the Falls, including the presence of aquatic invasive species in Rice Lake and Pike Lake that are headed our way. Preventative action on our part can head this off, but we will need to really focus on this in the coming years. The first step includes gathering as much information as we can on the current status of our lake and its surroundings. Fortunately, we already have several years’ data on water temperature and clarity for LOTF and First Black, and this year we will begin taking samples for water chemistry as well.

Something else we can do on our own properties is follow the recommendations of the Healthy Lakes program by using native plantings, water diversion practices, etc. to prevent erosion and runoff and keep our water in good condition. The folks at the Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department can provide information and grant opportunities to help with this. A good way to start would be with their annual Native Plant Sale (information and order form are here).  A lot of us are already following good shoreline practices, but it’s not 100%.

Residents of the upriver lakes in the watershed  will be working hard in the near future to curb the threat of AIS and hopefully will be able to head it off before it comes down to Lake of the Falls. This is everyone’s problem, though, and I think we’re off to a good start to meet the challenge.

Turtle River Stewardship Program set for January 29

The Turtle River Stewardship Program is scheduled for next Wednesday, January 29 starting at 11:00 at the Great Northern Hotel Banquet facility. This is the kickoff conference for the Turtle River Watershed Management Plan (see the previous post) and will feature speakers, a panel discussion, and a buffet lunch. Attendance is free, but reservations must be made by 4:00 pm Tuesday, January 21. Email rthiede1@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

See a detailed schedule for the day by clicking here.

Turtle River Watershed Management Plan

In response to concern about environmental threats to our waterways in Iron County, the Iron County Lakes and Rivers Alliance (of which LOFA is a member) has been working with the State of Wisconsin to create a new model for assessing and improving the health of our lakes and rivers. ICLRA secretary Dick Thiede’s letter, sent by LOFA treasurer Jack Schuett to LOFA members last Tuesday, goes into a lot of detail about the reasons for this effort and is worth the time it takes to read. The upshot is the creation of the Turtle River Watershed Management Plan, a cooperative effort to address specific problems in the river system that can potentially affect everyone, such as the aquatic invasive species which are already present in some upriver lakes. The ICLRA is hosting a “kickoff” conference on Wednesday, January 29 to start the ball rolling on this important initiative. Time and place are still TBD and will be posted here. As Jack stated in his email to LOFA members on Tuesday,

While this is not an ideal time for many of you to attend, it is imperative to get the “ball rolling” as to have something in place ASAP. We know the the problem will not resolve itself. There will be committees and studies to be done so there will be plenty of chances to get involved.

We’ll keep everyone posted on the progress of this initiative.

To read Dick Thiede’s email, click here, and here to see a map of the Turtle River Watershed.

Our second annual fall get-together

. . .at Beaver’s Resort was a success last Saturday with 17 people in attendance (at least that’s what I counted) and lots of lively conversation and good feelings all around. It’s always sad to see another season end, but this is a great way to say farewell! I took a couple of pictures of the group but they were a little blurry and the light was bad, so, instead, enjoy this photo of some otters who visited the north end of the lake on a gorgeous morning last week. Before it started to snow!

Beaver’s Resort Musky Tournament 2019

What do you do on a cold rainy day? Why fish in a Musky tournament on beautiful Lake of the Falls of course!

Twelve boats braved the cold, wet., windy elements but only one boat had the winning fish.

The winner was Jason Burmesch with his 40 1/2 inch musky.

Here is a picture of the fish and Jason holding his first place trophy which was made by Joe Chivers.

Congratulations to Jason.