As we bring 2022 to a close, I am deeply grateful for the work we’ve accomplished together to protect the beautiful lakes and waterways of Vilas County.
The last couple of years have brought new challenges that impact our wonderful lake and river heritage. Your commitment and support have been crucial in helping shape and progress our efforts to address these concerns.
Thank you for all you do to keep our natural waters clean and beautiful! Together, we can make a difference.
On behalf of the Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Association board, we wish you a happy holiday season and new year, and we look forward to working with you and accomplishing even more in the new year!
The effects of enhanced waves from wake surf boats have been the topic of much concern and research in recent years. VCLRA and Vilas-based Last Wilderness Alliance (LWA) have been working together to inform the public and address hazardous wake issues. An article on our work will appear in the next VCLRA newsletter available in January 2023.
LWA leadership has appeared before the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) to provide testimony about the safety and environmental concerns that Hazardous Wakes pose to Wisconsin lakes. Action by the NRB could lead to DNR regulation and possible state-wide legislation. Last week, the Wisconsin Natural Resource Board met to examine the issues surrounding wake boats to look at actions, including new laws, to address the issues. A presentation on boating regulations and enforcement by wardens relevant to wake boats is shown below.
Check out our latest newsletter. Learn about our upcoming, 2022 Northwoods Six-County Lakes & Rivers Conference (which incorporates our VCLRA annual meeting) on July 15th at Nicolet College, which returns to an in-person format. Our theme is wakeboats, lake capacity and other key issues impacting lakes and rivers. This newsletter also has a wealth of information about useful tools, initiatives and resources to keep our lakes and rivers healthy. Finally, don’t forget to renew your membership, or join today!
As we reported recently in the VCLRA report on Wake Boats in our winter newsletter (pages 6-7), the growing popularity of wake boats presents challenges on state lakes. On the one hand, water sports and recreational boating generates tourist dollars. On the other hand, there is the potential for enhanced shoreline erosion due to their energetic waves. The enhanced wakes can also endanger other swimmers and boaters, as well as disturb water fowl nesting sites on the water’s edge. Because wake boats are weighted in the rear so that the propwash has a downward angle, they may stir up bottom sediments, uproot aquatic plants, disturb fish habitat and potentially releasing toxins that have settled to the bottom.
The public has an opportunity to influence state regulations through the 2022 Spring Hearing online input sponsored by The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC), which is a liaison between the citizens of Wisconsin, the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Its purpose is to provide an avenue for public input and exchange concerning conservation issues in Wisconsin. Pending approval by the Wisconsin Legislature, what started as a Citizen Resolution can become a Wisconsin rule/law. To that end, WCC has submitted several proposed Citizen Resolution questions for Vilas County and Dane county. If these resolution questions pass the first step, they will follow the process toward a hazardous wake resolution at the state level. If successful, current State boating regulations and statutes could be changed to regulate wake boats.
How can I find the online input option?
The link will be placed on the DNR’s Spring Hearing webpage and can be found at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov. Type in “Spring Hearings” in the search box.
How do I provide input using the online option?
The online form is being run through “Survey Monkey”. Once you sign in, simply read and follow the directions.
When can I provide my online input?
The link will go live on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT and will remain open for three days (until 7:00 PM CDT on Thursday, April 14). Each person can provide input once for each of the survey questions.
Do I have to provide input on all the questions?
No, just answer “NO OPINION” on questions you do not want to answer.
The VCLRA report on Wake Boats in the 2021-22 winter newsletter (posted on https://vclra.org/newsletter-archive/) also provides useful references on experiences with wake boats in several states, as well as research on lake impacts due to enhanced wakes.
Lake group leaders and members from six northern Wisconsin counties will convene for a discussion of the environmental impacts of wakeboats, the proliferation of short-term rentals, and other issues related lake recreational capacity on Friday, July 15th. The annual lakes event will return to an in-person event and is sponsored jointly by Oneida and Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Associations.
The effects of enhanced wakes from wakeboarding and wakesurfing have been the subject of great concern and extensive scientific research in recent years. Meanwhile, concern is rising about the short-term rentals of lakefront homes and cabins and how they affect lake water quality, lake crowding, and the integrity of lakefront neighborhoods.
Other topics at the annual Six-County Lakes Meeting, from 8:30 am to noon at Nicolet College in Rhinelander, will include aquatic invasive species prevention, lake access and viewing corridors on lakefront properties, and an update on state legislation and policy related to water resources. Attendees are expected from Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, and Iron counties. VCLRA and OCLRA will separately also host their annual meetings immediately following the event.
See draft agenda for more details. Updates may follow as the agenda is finalized.
Our Winter 2021-2022 newsletter is available online (members who get print copies will get these by mail in a few weeks). Read about Wake Boats, the Northwoods Businesses for Clean Waters partnership, our 2021 scholarships and Blue Heron awards, and much more…
Michelle Nault is the statewide lakes and reservoir ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Water Quality and is responsible for providing technical guidance to a wide variety of lake management and restoration efforts. Michelle will discuss how the DNR and its partners use science to deal with these troubling aquatic invasive species.
View all presentations from the 2021 six-county lakes and rivers conference, which was hosted by Vilas and Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Associations on July 16th 2021. Attendees were invited from Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Langlade, Iron and Lincoln counties. Pat Goggin, lake specialist at the UW Extension Lakes, was the conference leader. Climate change, high water, development, and less state protections can all impact water quality in the Northwoods and were some of the topics addressed during the meeting by lake leaders and experts from Wisconsin and Minnesota.