Keeping an eye on the big picture
It has been a challenging year for the Squash Lake Association, with the continuing saga of the bible camp, the lowest water levels in years, and now the discovery of Eurasian Watermilfoil. It seems like we have been reacting to crises since the day we started our lake association in 2005.
If it is any comfort, we are not alone. Our issues on Squash Lake reflect what is happening elsewhere. We need to work with all stakeholders, including those who live outside the boundaries of Squash Lake, if we are going to be effective in preserving the integrity of our lake.
Some lake associations have taken the initiative to create comprehensive lake management plans in an effort to become more proactive, rather than always taking a reactive approach. These plans include surveys of lake residents; baseline measures of flora, fauna, and water clarity; regular monitoring of these measures; and strategies to educate the public on preserving the quality of the ecosystem. Remedial strategies are then implemented in a more systemic fashion, and can include AIS eradication, habitat improvement, and shoreland restoration. Lake management plans require close working relationships with local municipalities and monitoring of zoning standards.
We are partnering with Crescent Lake and Lake Julia to apply for a cooperative DNR AIS education/prevention grant in 2010-2011. The purpose of the grant will be to educate the public and prevent the further spread of invasive species. The DNR gives preference to grant applications that involve cooperative initiatives.
We continue to rely on the Wisconsin Lakes Association (WAL), the Oneida County
Lakes & Rivers Association (OCLRA), and the Wisconsin DNR for support and information. But we need the support of all of you as well. You can help by giving input at board meetings, working on our various committees, monitoring our boat landing for AIS, or even hosting a social.
Let me know how you would like to get involved.