News & Reports

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

2024 Oneida County & Vilas County Lakes & Rivers Assn. Six-County Meeting

Oneida County Lakes & Rivers Association (OCLRA) in conjunction with Vilas County Lakes & Rivers Association (VCLRA) is beginning to plan their Six-County Meeting 2024. It will be held the morning of Friday, July 12, 2024 at 8:00AM with check in at 7:30AM at the Nicolet College Theater (Rhinelander).

They had a record turn-out of 183 participants in 2023 and think that number can be exceeded. They have decided to go with the popular 4–5-member panel idea again, following three individual speakers. There will space in the Theater Commons area for displays to be set up as well.

Please help “get the word out” for this important event and consider choices for speakers. Please consider attending and/or sending your suggestions for topics to discuss.

You may send your suggestions to Joe Steinhage. Looking forward to hearing from you and entertaining your ideas. Thank you!

— Joe Steinhage
Mobile: 715-360-4340

Wisconsin Invasive Species Council To Host Information Sessions On Invasive Species Identification, Classification And Control

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council will host a series of virtual information sessions regarding proposed revisions to the state’s Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control Rule (ch. NR 40, Wis. Adm. Code).

The meetings will be hosted by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council, a governor-appointed group that advises the DNR and state legislature on invasive species issues, including ch. NR 40.

These sessions aim to maintain transparency with the public and request questions and feedback related to the council’s proposed regulations ahead of the official rule-making process.

There will be a total of four virtual sessions. Each session will be held from 6 – 7:30 p.m. over the next two months and feature a group of Species Assessment Groups. These groups are composed of experts and representatives who provide input to the council on specific species.

Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that cause great ecological, environmental or economic harm; some can even affect human health. Chapter NR 40 was established in 2009 to slow the spread of invasive species. The rule classifies invasive species in Wisconsin as Prohibited or Restricted and regulates the transportation, possession, transfer and introduction of those species. The rule also establishes “Preventative Measures” to show what actions we can take to slow the spread of invasive species.

More information can be found on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council’s webpage, including all slide shows, lists of species and regulatory recommendations.

To register for these events, visit the DNR’s meetings and hearings calendar.