General interest

North Lakeland Woods & Waters Conference Held May 3rd

The North Lakeland Woods & Waters Conference will be held at the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters, WI on  Friday May 3rd, 2024.

Join us for a gathering centered on partnerships and collaboration. Let’s celebrate water, explore solutions, and stay informed about the science and research related to our Northwoods and treasured lakes. Some of the areas examined include:

  • Watershed Partnerships
  • Wake Boats
  • Shoreline Restoration
  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Citizen Science

Registration opens at 7:30 AM followed by an optional morning bog hike on Statehouse Lake led by Licia Johnson, Naturalist and Education Director. Coffee and light breakfast included, followed by opening comments and sessions beginning at 9:00 AM. Lunch and refreshments also provided.

Last lecture session ends at 3:30 PM. Following the last session, optional workshops such as underwater remote operated vehicles or a naturalist-led botany hike will be offered.

A Woods and Water Social will be held in the Lodge from 4:30 – 6:00 PM with beer and wine by donation.


A compelling new wakesports proposal

An action alert from our partner organization, Wisconsin Lakes

Sen. André Jacque (R-DePere) entered the wakesports fray last week, releasing a proposal that would manage wakesports on Wisconsin waters under terms largely in line with those proposed in recent popular Wisconsin Conservation Congress resolutions. The proposal is being circulated among legislators looking for co-sponsors with a deadline of December 14.   Wisconsin Lakes is in support of this effort, with the one caveat noted below. The bill: Prohibits enhanced wakes on lakes smaller than 1500 acres, Prohibits enhanced wakes within 700 feet of shore or from any boat swimmer, or other individual using the water on lakes 1500 acres or larger, Preserves local authority to enact ordinances stricter than these provisions. Due to an unintended consequence of its language, the bill would limit an existing right to sue a boater for personal injury to only cases where the injury was caused by enhanced wakes (click “read more from WI Lakes” below for a full explanation).  While Wisconsin Lakes is not endorsing the bill’s current language in full because of this issue, we believe a change is in the works that will take care of it and allow us to offer our full support.  We recommend you encourage your legislators to support the terms of this bill while asking for the change of language to preserve the general right to sue reckless boaters (explained above), and if appropriate for them, to co–sponsor the legislation.  

Read the proposal (Keep in mind that until it is introduced, the language will likely change and the author could decide not to introduce it all) 

How to contact your legislator 

AB656/SB680 UPDATE – HEARINGS AHEAD?   Sen. Jacque’s proposal detailed above is diametrically opposed to AB656/SB680 which would only prohibit wakesports within 200 feet of shore and prohibits local governments from enacting anything stronger (while allowing them to be less restrictive). These bills are currently sitting in their assigned legislative committees, which could come as early as next week. You can count on Wisconsin Lakes for any updates just as soon as we get them.


Wisconsin Green Fire social event announced

A social event will be held October 18th at the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters from 5 to 7 pm. Dr. Mike Meyer, along with lake leaders from the area, will share highlights from the WGF Northern Lakes Toolbox workshops held in Vilas, Oneida and Iron counties.  Lake association members and leaders are all welcome.

This is one of WGF’s fall Conservation Socials events engaging and casual gatherings to be held this fall across Wisconsin, bringing members and conservation enthusiasts together from all across the state.

See WGF’s full news release for further details.

General interest

Fishing on Conover Lakes – a WDNR Fisheries Program

The Conover Lakes Committee is sponsoring a DNR Fisheries program: “Fishing on Conover Lakes” on July 12, 2023, 5:30 pm at the Conover Recreation Center.

Please join us — it’s free and open to all (not just Conover folks).

Eric Wegleitner, Fisheries Biologist for Vilas County, will review the state of fisheries in Conover lakes, and what the agency is doing to promote the fishery in our area.

Did you know: WDNR’s Fisheries Management Program supports and promotes 161 different fish species! Find out how many are here in the Conover lakes.

Some topics may include:

  • Any current or potential problems with our fishery in the Conover area
  • Ongoing or future programs to research the health of fish in Conover lakes
  • Changes in species of fish in Conover lakes over time
  • Concerns about the fishery that we should all watch for, and how to report them.

Following the presentation, there will be ample time for Q&A, the best part of the program!



Shoreland Owner Workshop

June 26 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

If you own lake or river shoreland property and would like to learn about best practices and programs to protect water quality and habitat, as well as permanent conservation options through our partner, Northwoods Land Trust, please join us on Monday, June 26 at 10 am at the Northwoods Center in Eagle River. A light lunch and beverages will be served.

Read more about Permanent Shoreland Protection here.

Topics / presentation / discussion include:

  • Maintaining water quality through shoreland best practices and restoration options (vegetation management and erosion control). Mariquita Sheehan, Conservation Specialist, Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Department.
  • Programs and resources for new shoreland property owners and lake associations. Tom Ewing, President, Vilas County Lakes & Rivers Association.
  • Permanent shoreland and upland conservation options for private landowners including the basics of conservation easements. Kari Kirschbaum, Land Protection Director, Northwoods Land Trust

Pre-registration is requested. This event is free.

Register Here

Questions?  Email or call the NWLT office at 715-479-2490.

General interest

Northwoods LIGHTS OUT!

by Quita Sheehan, 

Looking for another way to enjoy the wonders of the Northwoods? Exploring the night skies, watching fireflies and stargazing are but a few ways to appreciate the darkness. Oneida and Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Departments are promoting two summer weekends to enjoy the night. We encourage you to turn off your lights for a few hours, go outside, and look up and around you! Listening in the darkness can also lead to exciting discoveries! Make this an event for your lake group or educational organization; help us spread the word through your organization communications and newsletters!

Two summer weekends to enjoy the night!

June 17-18          Firefly Watch!
August 12-13      Milky Way & Perseid Meteor Watch!

We hope that by setting dates, residents, and visitors alike, will coordinate for a broader appreciation of nighttime wonders.  Please check out the Oneida Land & Water Conservation website ( or call 715-369-7835 for more information.  And if you or your group plan a Lights Out Event – let us know!!

Unnecessary lighting with improper placement and design interferes with visibility and robs us all of quality night skies.  Other impacts from light pollution include human health affects/sleep disruption, confusion for migratory birds and other wildlife, and wasting energy. You can help by only using lighting you really need, choosing energy-efficient bulbs, and directing lights downward. By working together, we can protect the night for everyone to enjoy!


Permanent Shoreland Protection

A priority of the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) is to assist landown­ers in conserving sizable properties to protect our world-class water resources. Perma­nent land conser­va­tion is one of the most effective ways to safe­guard our lakes and rivers.  

The Vilas County Lakes & Rivers Asso­ciation (VCLRA) is part­ner­ing with NWLT to advance a Shoreland Pro­tection Legacy Initia­tive to reach more landowners on Vilas County’s 1300 lakes and 70 rivers. Both organizations are promoting perma­nent land protection tools as a means to ensure our waters stay healthy, productive and clean.

Natural forested areas and undeveloped shorelines play a big part in maintaining water quality and wild­life/fish habitat long-term.  Moreover, protect­ing more land today will reduce the need to restore degraded water resources tomorrow.

Private landowners hold the key to preserving remaining natural shoreland areas. Community-based conservation with a nonprofit land trust like NWLT is local, voluntary, and (importantly) perma­nent. Land­owners that protect the land they love also provide greater public benefits in the form of clean water and air, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty. 

Below are two articles that we encourage Lake Associations to share with members in your newsletter and communications. There will also be a Shoreland Owner Workshop on June 26th in Eagle River on best practices and programs to protect water quality and habitat, as well as permanent conservation options through NWLT. Registration is required. More on the workshop here.

Article written by the Northwoods Land Trust, in collaboration with Vilas County Lakes & Rivers Association.

General interest

Changing climate impacts our lakes

by Dea Larsen Converse, 

A recently released report on climate impacts to water resources in Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) shows that warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are impacting Wisconsin’s wealth of water resources. The last two decades have been the warmest on record in Wisconsin and the past decade has been the wettest.

“The warming climate is having an impact on water resources in Wisconsin. We need to increase the magnitude and urgency of actions to protect and restore habitat and enhance water quality to make Wisconsin’s waters more resilient to climate change.”

– Katie Hein, WICCI Water Resources Working Group Co-Chair

Yet, there is hope. The WICCI report suggests solutions to prepare for and minimize climate impacts to water resources, like increasing water storage across the landscape, installing green infrastructure, protecting wetlands, building outside of flood zones, and installing flood warning systems. Visit the Water Resources Working Group webpage to learn more. There is hope for the future, but it is up to us.

Read more here.

Dea Larsen Converse is Communications Director for Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, a nationally recognized collaboration of scientists and stakeholders working together to help foster solutions to climate change in Wisconsin. 

Photo credit: Deer Lake Morning by Kevin Sink


Aquatic Invasive Species 2022 Snapshot Day is August 20

Join the statewide search for aquatic invasive species!

This statewide, one-day event connects volunteers, water lovers, and local groups in a search for aquatic invasive species (AIS). You can help protect Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes from these invasive plants and animals that negatively impact habitat, wildlife, recreation and health. This event is coordinated in partnership with UW-Madison Division of Extension, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, local partners, and YOU!

Assisting in the search for aquatic invasive species in the area is a fantastic way for individuals to help out your local community and ecosystem, with no experience required! Volunteers can register for the location of their choosing; the NLDC will be participating in the “Manitowish Waters – Vilas County” location. For those who would like to learn more about the aquatic invasive species in the area, Emily Heald will be hosting an optional volunteer AIS training on August 12, 2022 from noon-1pm over Zoom (Click here to register).

For more information about the 2022 Snapshot Day, visit their website.

Best practices

Managing your lake shoreline buffers for healthy waters

06/28/2022 12:30 PM – 04:30 PM CT at the North Lakeland Discovery Center

Our Northwoods lakes have a protective shield – healthy shoreline buffers! Join Mariquita Sheehan, Conservation Specialist for the Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Dept. as she surveys the Statehouse Lake shoreline to quantify the health of the buffer, identify areas that might need some modification, and make a plan to fix any problems we find. Take home skills and materials to use on your own shoreline buffers! This is a free workshop.  Registration appreciated by 6/26.