There is still time to register for the Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention

The Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention, sponsored by the UW Lakes Extension and normally held annually in Stevens Point, is going online this year and takes place this Thursday and Friday, April 2 and 3. It includes presentations on a huge variety of topics of interest to people like us, and registration is cheap – $10 a day. You can still register for Thursday and Friday, even right up to the day-of. Follow this link for quick “walk up” registration. For more information, see the Convention’s main page, and take a look at their Facebook page, too. Every session will be recorded for later playback, and will be available online later on in April.

Turtle River Watershed Stewardship Project to Fight Curly Leaf Pondweed

This letter from LOFA treasurer Jack Schuett was sent to everyone on our mailing list earlier today:

LOFA members,
I received this from Dick Theide yesterday. Since this issue could potentially affect OUR lake I encourage anyone that can help do so. Please download the attached form indicating how you could help and return as indicated.
Thanking you in advance,
Jack Schuett

 

If you haven’t already, PLEASE READ THE LETTER BY CLICKING HERE. It’s vital that we all be on the same page when it comes to meeting the challenge of Curly Leaf Pondweed before it reaches Lake of the Falls. A printable version of the volunteer information form is here.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! I talked this week to Zach Wilson from the Iron County Department of Land and Water Conservation, and he is planning to meet with LOFA members to discuss this problem at 1:00pm on Tuesday, May 26 (the day after Memorial Day) at Beaver’s Resort. Also, Emily Heald, the Water Program Coordinator at the North Lakeland Discovery Center, is scheduled to give a presentation on Aquatic Invasive Species identification at our annual picnic on Sunday, August 2. Details will follow when we get closer to the dates.

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.