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In this issue:


  • Reminder: Six County Lakes and Rivers Meeting
  • Help make a difference for our waters. Join OCLRA
  • Do you like clear-cutting of lake shorelines?
  • Enhanced wake regulation: Dominos falling
  • Green Fire updates report on wake boat ecosystem impacts
  • Conservation Congress wake questions gain overwhelming support
  • EPA reports on health of nation’s rivers and streams
  • Glacial Lakes Partnership issues Shoreline Living Volume 2
  • 2024 Lights Out events set for June and August
  • Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Partnership honors lake stewards
  • Webinar highlights link between water quality and property values
  • Wisconsin Wetlands Association presents Wetland Coffee Breaks
  • The Underworld: Dives into the deepest recesses of the oceans


Reminder: Six-County Lakes and Rivers Meeting


“Protecting Our Waters: We’re All Connected! is the theme for the Northwoods Six County Lakes and Rivers Meeting on Friday, July 12, at  

Lakeside Center on the Nicolet College campus in Rhinelander. The meeting opens at 8:30 a.m. with refreshments and exhibits. The agenda includes an update on state government policy related to water resources,   a talk on climate change and its effects on our lakes and rivers, a presentation on PFAS contamination of surface waters, and a panel discussion on the interconnection of water resources. The meeting is free of charge, there is no need to register, and all are welcome. 


Help make a difference for our waters. Join OCLRA


OCLRA has embarked on another busy year working on behalf of our county’s water resources. Now is the time to show your support and commitment by joining our organization or renewing your individual or lake group membership. The bigger our OCLRA community and the stronger our base of support, the more we can accomplish in protecting our waters, natural shorelines, scenery, and property values. To establish or renew your membership, visit 


Do you like clear-cutting of lake shorelines? 


Did you know that in Oneida County (unlike Vilas) it is legal to clear-cut the trees and shrubs within the strip of land known as the access and viewing corridor on waterfront properties? OCLRA believes that such clearcutting is detrimental to aquatic ecosystems, harmful to Northwoods scenery, and detrimental to property values and the county’s tourism economy. We would like to see the county’s Shoreland Protection Ordinance include a prohibition on clear-cutting on waterfronts. Please watch for developments on this issue. Meantime, if you would like to express an opinion on the topic, send an email to


Enhanced wake ordinances: Dominos falling


There are several recent developments in local regulation of enhanced wakes. The Newbold Town Board (Oneida County) has voted unanimously to prohibit generation of enhanced wakes on all town lakes and on border lakes that have at least 60% of their shoreline in the township. The Lake Tomahawk Town Board has passed a ban on enhanced wakes covering all lakes entirely within town borders (Lake Tomahawk is not included because it is not entirely within the township). The Lac du Flambeau Tribal Council passed an emergency rule to ban any operation of a wakeboat within the reservation boundaries. Two Waupaca County towns have scheduled a public hearing for June 9 on ordinances that could restrict the use of wakeboats on the Waupaca Chain within their borders.


Green Fire updates report on wakeboat ecosystem impacts


Wisconsin’s Green Fire has updated its report, “The Effects of Wake Boats on Lake Ecosystem Health: A Literature Review.” It compiles findings from more than 200 scientific studies and enumerates negative effects from wakeboat use in lakes, including spread of invasive species, shoreline erosion, damage aquatic plants, resuspension of sediment, and harm to birds and fish. Meanwhile, Green Fire’s May Compass Points newsletter is available on the group’s website.


Conservation Congress wake questions gain overwhelming support


Three citizen-submitted questions regarding wakeboats and the regulation of ballasted wake sports were overwhelmingly approved at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings, according to information released by the DNR. The questions included requests to either ban wakeboat ballast tank use in Wisconsin or limit their use to tanks that can be adequately decontaminated to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. A question also asked whether the state should enact standards limiting where ballasted wake sports would be allowed in the state. All three questions received votes in favor at a margin of 3-to-1. With passage, these proposals will work their way through the Conservation Congress process, and may be presented to DNR and legislators to consider. The results are advisory only.


EPA reports on health of the nation’s rivers and streams


The U.S. EPA has released its National Rivers and Streams Assessment report, presenting the results of the 2018-2019 survey of perennial rivers and streams in the 48 contiguous United States. The survey provides information on the extent of stream miles that support healthy biological conditions and recreation. Among much else, the report indicates that healthy habitat occurred in over half of river and stream miles but that less than one-third of river and stream miles (28%) had healthy biological communities.


Glacial Lakes Partnership issues Shoreline Living Volume 2


Building on the success of its original Shoreline Living booklet, the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership has released Shoreline Living Volume 2. Both publications tell the stories of lakefront property owners who have applied a variety of best stewardship practices on their shorelines. Practices featured in Volume 2 include woody habitat restoration in the water (fish sticks), wildflower plantings, and conservation easements motivated by waterfowl protection and family traditions. These booklets are beautifully written and illustrated and deserve wide distribution. You can view them online or order print copies from the Extension Lakes Bookstore.


2024 Lights Out events set for June and August


Save the Dates for 2024 Lights Out! One of the best things about living in the Northwoods is enjoying the starry skies. The weekends of June 7-9 and Aug 2-4 are reserved for voluntary Lights Out! events to help bring awareness of darkness as a natural resource. For information contact Quita Sheehan at or 715-479-3721. In the meantime, check out some great info on why dark skies are important.


Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Partnership honors lake stewards


The Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Partnership presented four 2024 Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Awards at the Lakes & Rivers Convention in April in Stevens Point. The winners are:

  •   Jeff Meessmann, Last Wilderness Alliance, Excellence in Public Engagement Award
  •   Kerry Romsa, Pelican Lake Association, Excellence in Building Partnerships Award
  •   Big Doctor Lake Association, Programmatic Excellence for Lake Health Award
  •   Tracy Arnold, Portage County Land & Water Conservation, Excellence in Professional Service Award


The winners are nominated to the North American Lake Management Society’s award program for potential national recognition.


Webinar highlights linkage between water quality and property value 


The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership Lake held a webinar, “Valuing lake water quality in the United States using a national dataset on property values.” A recording of the webinar is posted on YouTube. 


Wisconsin Wetlands Association presents Coffee Breaks


The Wetland Coffee Break series sponsored by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association helps keep wetland lovers connected and learning about wetlands throughout the year, from anywhere. Participants learn about wetlands, the plants and animals that call them home, and the many natural benefits they provide. Sessions are held on Zoom and feature time for audience Q&A. See their website at 


The Underworld: Dives into the deepest recesses of the oceans


A vast space on our planet remains largely unexplored: the bottom of the ocean, and especially the deepest reaches. Susan Casey’s book, The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean, describes the challenges of deep exploration, the intrepid explorers who take them on, and the abundant and fascinating life then find at depths down to 35,000 feet. Today’s technologies allow scientists and explorers to dive miles beneath the surface to a place of soaring mountains, smoldering volcanoes, and valleys deeper than Everest is high. Casey tells how vital the deep is to the planet’s future and why we need to understand it in a time of threats from climate change, industrial fishing, pollution, and mining.