News & Reports


The Wisconsin Conservation Congress offers citizens the ability weigh in on natural resource matters each year through its Spring Hearings. Citizen offered questions are put up to a vote by participants in the hearings, and those that pass eventually are provided to the Natural Resources Board, Dept. of Natural Resources, and the Legislature as suggested paths forward on an issue. WCC resolutions are advisory only.

While the in-person meetings took place this past Monday, citizens can register their vote online from noon, April 10, 2024 through noon, April 13 .

Three questions regarding wakesports and wakeboats are available in this years set of questions, along with questions regarding fish management and other natural resource topics:

  • Questions 32 and 42 ask if the use of wakeboat ballast tanks systems, which don’t drain fully as designed and can cause the transfer of aquatic invasive species from one lake to the next, should be banned in Wisconsin
  • Question 43 asks if the legislature should pass a law prohibiting the “generation of intentionally magnified wakes for wake surfing through the use of ballast, design features, operational procedures or any other means on lakes smaller than 1500 acres and less than 20 feet deep and maintain a distance from shore and other lake users of 700 feet

Wisconsin Lakes supports a vote of YES on these advisory questions.


“Protecting Our Waters: We’re All Connected!” Northwoods Six-County Lakes Meeting Set for July 12

“Protecting Our Waters: We’re All Connected” is the theme for the annual Northwoods Six-County Lakes Meeting, set for Friday, July 12, at Nicolet College.

Lake association leaders and members along with the general public will convene to learn about and discuss our interconnected water resources and our human connections to each other and to our lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater.

A committee with representatives from Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, and Iron counties is at work developing plans for the meeting. The program will include a five-member panel discussion on the connections among water resources and the people who use them, along with presentations on the impacts of climate change and drought on our water resources and fisheries, and the problem of PFAS in the environment.

There will also be exhibits from educational and nonprofit organizations and excellent opportunities for networking. The meeting will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon. All are welcome; there is no charge and no need to register. More details and a full agenda will be announced as the meeting date approaches.

The event is jointly sponsored by the Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association ( and the Vilas County Lakes and Rivers Association ( For more information contact Ted Rulseh at 920-242-8671 ( or Tom Ewing at 630-985-8472 (

Aquatic Invasive Species Meeting : Feb. 22, 2024

Turtle Flambeau Flowage Trude Lake Property Owners Association

Aquatic Invasive Species Meeting
Location: Mercer Haines Meeting Room-Town Hall

February 22nd , 2024


9:00 Introductions

9:10 Eurasian water milfoil -natural history, ecology, and status -Zach Wilson

9:45 Funding sources for management (Surface Water Grants)-Alex Selle

10:00 Fisheries management in relation to nutrient loading and plant growth-Zach Lawson

10:30 Discussion on EWM management/ Monitoring/ Research

12:00 End

Wake Boats and Lakes: New Report from Wisconsin’s Green Fire

Rhinelander, WI – Without clear statewide guidance for wake boat use on Wisconsin lakes, local communities are struggling to balance recreation with the health of their lake ecosystems. Some critics, responding to the increasing popularity of wake boats on inland lakes, have called for restricting the use of these specially designed boats. To provide a science-based approach, conservation nonprofit Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) released a new report on the effects of wake boats on lake ecosystems.

The Effects of Wake Boats on Lake Ecosystem Health, February 2024

WGF’s report “The Effects of Wake Boats on Lake Ecosystem Health: A Literature Review,” compiles findings from over 175 scientific studies in several U.S. states, documenting several kinds of negative effects from wake boats on lakes. Wake boats can spread aquatic invasive species, increase shoreline erosion, damage aquatic plants including manoomin (wild rice), worsen water quality due to resuspension of sediments, and negatively impact birds and fish, particularly nesting loons and spawning fish.

Author of the report, David A. Ortiz, a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin—Madison says, “This project bridges scientific research and best practices on how wake boat use can be part of a long-term sustainability plan for Wisconsin lakes.”

This WGF report provides the Wisconsin Legislature and local units of government with several pro-conservation recommendations that support recreational uses of lakes while protecting the health of lake ecosystems.

Among those recommendations:
Wake boating should only be done on lakes with at least 40 contiguous acres of open water where the entire contiguous area is greater than 20 feet deep and more than 600 feet from any shoreline. This does not mean 40-acre lakes—rather, it means limiting wake boat use to larger and deeper lakes where the impacts on shorelines, aquatic habitats, and wildlife, can be minimized.
To reduce the spread of invasive species which can easily survive in leftover ballast and bilge water on wake boats, wake boat owners should hot pressure wash the boat or treat with bleach and let dry for at least 4 days before using their boats on different waterbodies.
Wisconsin’s Green Fire also recommends online training on proper use and risks of wake boats, along with informational signs at waterways.

Wisconsin is not alone in dealing with controversy over wake boats. In January, Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources approved a rule that prohibits wake boat use on lakes less than 50 contiguous acres and those less than 20 feet deep. Wake boats in that state cannot operate less than 500 feet from any shore.

The WGF report provides details on policies that states and communities around the U.S. and abroad have taken to protect lakes from negative impacts of wake boats.

The full report is available on the Wisconsin’s Green Fire website:

Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) is a statewide nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to science-based management of natural resources.

Media contacts:
1) Meleesa Johnson,
Wisconsin’s Green Fire Executive Director

2) Carolyn Pralle,
Wisconsin’s Green Fire Communications Coordinator