Our Second Love, Our Lakes

On this Labor Day I hope most are getting the opportunity to get out onto their lakes to enjoy a wonderful day in the upper midwest. As the boating season begins to wind down and the leaves begin their annual color change we can reflect back and the summer that to many may seem like it never was. The Great Outdoors to many others has proven to be an excellent distraction to a world in apparent disarray. For some of us who have spent more time than usual out on the water it may have provided greater insight into the value of our surface waters; this includes public waters of the state, rivers for example for kayaking/canoeing, etc.

What have we seen? Have we accumulated any new knowledge that has helped us become better stewards of the waters? Have we observed something new that has led us back to our home office to investigate the question on the internet? Have we shared information or questions with others? If our waters our something we truly cherish it takes more than a passive interest to preserve it.

The diversity of lake users is greater today than it has ever been. This includes users of varying backgrounds with variable agendas. These agendas may not always be be in unison with the best interests to the waters we inhabit, but we can all hope to play in this sandbox in harmony. If our waters spoil well then the party is over. Our water resources do not have a hospital they can got to when they feel sick or are becoming undone. We are sickness but also the cure.

This is a good time to sit back, enjoy the weather and reflect back on the things we can do better on with our lakes. What have turned a blind eye to for too long. Fall brings time to contemplate these things and plan for the winter and upcoming year. Start taking stock in the little things and track lake progress.

Up Next, we’ll take a look at the process of video recording your shoreline.

July – Lakes Appreciation Month

As the title of this blog-article suggests, July is Lakes Appreciation Month! It’s in the dead of summer when most lake activities are fully ramped up. With the ongoing Pandemic 2020 the great outdoors have been a welcome distraction to some in their social distancing efforts. We fish and recreate on them, some of us even work on them.  Lakes are even drinking water sources for some of us, but do we really show and advocate our appreciation for them? It’s hard to say.  How is it that we even show appreciation for our lakes?  Consider some of the thoughts below:

  • By way of reading this article it is highly likely that you have already joined your local lake association, but have you ever looked beyond those borders? Perhaps there is a local watershed association as well.  Our lakes and streams tend to reflect what is draining to them and at times lake associations can get tunnel vision, over-focusing on in-lake issues. Watershed issues can be just as vital. Involvement with both lake and watershed management creates the holistic picture.
  • One silver lining of the pandemic and shelter in place order has been the spike in available online webinars at little to no cost.  I’ve attended webinars as far away as the Maine Lakes Society, and while much of the material looks familiar at first glance, there is always something that can be picked up.  Watch the Twitter Feed for occasional announcements.
  • Check out your local volunteer lake monitoring opportunities. There is much to be learned by sitting and listening to others but getting your hands on the equipment and learning the components of the number and how the information is collected can give you new insight and understanding.

So, July is a big month; continue practicing social distancing from others, but that should be easy enough to do from your lake’s perspective, boating, kayaking, canoeing, shore fishing, etc.  Consider how you can show you appreciation for your lakes and it will continue to give back to you.

Welcome to Wisconsin Lakes.net

Happy Independence Day! Welcome to this website-Blog!

I’ve always loved the idea of “home”. Wisconsin is where I grew up and I am happy to be back home working on our lakes and watercourses. I have worked at offices located in several other states along the way, with the opportunity to work on projects in adjacent states. It has been a great adventure with a tremendous amount of experience to be gained in a variety of environments and among some extremely talented minds, but I always knew this was a domain I desired to re-inhabit.

I guess I should caveat things by saying that I didn’t just appear overnight, I have been working on projects, primarily in southern part of the state for the last 10 years, but mostly from a distance, slowly integrating into the local policies and protocols. Make no bones about it, Wisconsin is different and operates differently than many other states. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but integral in understanding the flow of things when you are at the plate.

Wisconsin is such a very water and natural resources rich state that it can become part of your very being. It can become imprinted on you at a young age and continues to follow you wherever you may go. The state’s abundance of clear, and relatively clean lakes and streams overshadow the fact that these areas need management and upkeep as much as any water body. For every clear and clean lake there is an equal number of lakes that are overloaded with nutrients, typically driven by a delivery mechanism yet to be controlled or fully understood.

As I have explored the canvas of lakes management and furthermore the natural resources components that accompany these services over the past 20 years of my career I have realized just how dependent people are on use of the internet to begin their journey. While this is totally reasonable, there is no “paint by numbers” in this business. No replacement for experience or a trained eye coupled with applied education. Lakes are not houses, they are a living breathing ecosystem that is constantly evolving to achieve a balance, more particularly in the last few centuries this would include the heavy influence of man.

So welcome aboard! Perhaps there is something that you can learn from my projects or the experience of others. I hope to have others contribute over time their expertise and input. To the maximum extent possible I will try to keep this website- blog less opinionated and more factual but at times it becomes difficult to hold the line when you are passionate about things, particularly decisions driven by others who are forced to look at things as black and white or place a financial line in the sand. So let us soldier ahead to discover our lakes, rivers, and everything else in between.