This year’s 6-county lakes & rivers meeting will take place on July 14, 2023, 8:30 am-12:30 pm, at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. The annual event is co-sponsored by the Oneida and Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Associations. This year’s meeting will include updates on Wisconsin legislation, invasives and other issues of interest to our lake community, and highlight the role of law enforcement — a common thread in impacts arising from enhanced wake boats and related concerns, short-term vacation rental issues and zoning violations. A moderated law enforcement panel featuring state and local speakers will discuss the challenges of addressing these problems.
As in the past, VCLRA will hold its annual meeting following the conference. The event is free and no registration is required. See draft agenda for more details. Updates may follow as the agenda is finalized.
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.
As VCLRA has been reporting in recent years, the growing popularity of wake surfing boats presents challenges on state lakes. The public again has an opportunity to influence state regulations through the 2023 Spring Hearing online input sponsored by The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC), a liaison between the citizens of Wisconsin, the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Its provides an avenue for public input and exchange concerning conservation issues in Wisconsin. Pending approval by the Wisconsin Legislature, a Citizen Resolution can become a state rule/law.
VCLRA is again requesting your input to the 2023 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Annual Spring Hearing on REGULATING WAKE SURFING ON WISCONSIN LAKES AND RIVERS.
Your response to last year’s request resulted in the six hazardous wake resolutions to WCC to be resoundingly approved. This year’s request for input represents a next step toward the development of a DNR regulation. Input can be provided online from noon April 10 to noon April 13.
Several Citizen Resolution questions have been proposed. Some of the resolutions are open for voting from all Wisconsin citizens, while others are specific to Vilas County and Dane county residents. Please follow the instructions carefully. If successful, current State boating regulations and statutes could be changed to regulate wake boats.
For additional information:
Here are the details about the questions that have been proposed on wake surfing and complete instructions on voting.
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 (https://www.oclw.org/special-projects.html) 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!
If your town is considering a hazardous wake ordinance, you may want to attend this workshop at the Boulder Junction Community Center on March 8, 2023. The purpose of this workshop is to offer guidance to town supervisors, town lakes committees, lake district commissioners, and lake association board members who feel there may be a need to regulate hazardous wakes within their township or municipality through local ordinances.
This workshop is limited to the first 100 attendees and rsvp’s are required.
Our Winter 2022-2023 newsletter is available online (members who get print copies will get these by mail in a few weeks). Read about Hazardous Wake Issues, Blue Heron Stewardship awards, AIS prevention and much more…
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.
Join other local lake organizations, professionals, and volunteers next week on Friday Oct 28 from 9:30-Noon at the Boulder Junction Community Center for the annual Vilas County Lake Conservation Partners Meeting. Each year Vilas County Land & Water facilitates this networking and planning meeting centered around lake conservation work. Hear what neighboring groups are working on, check progress with the Invasive Species Strategic Plan, and voice priorities your group might have for local lake conservation.
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.
_____________ 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.