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Since 1986, citizen volunteers across the state have tested their lakes using black and white "Secchi Disks". This effort continues today, and has grown to include over 1000 citizen volunteers. Opportunities have also grown, and many volunteers play a key role in monitoring lakes for invasive species. Volunteers also educate boaters about invasive species through Clean Boats, Clean Waters.
Citizen Lake Monitoring
Volunteers use Secchi disks to measure water clarity on lakes across the state.
Through Wisconsin's Citizen Lake Monitoring network, volunteers can test water clarity in their lakes, water chemistry (as funds allow), look for aquatic invasive species, and monitor aquatic plants. Most volunteers test water clarity. An 8-inch diameter black and white Secchi disk, is lowered into the water on a rope until it can no longer be seen, then this depth is recorded. Many volunteers also look for invasive species such as Eurasian Water-Milfoil and Zebra Mussels.To Get Involved: Contact your regional citizen lake monitoring coordinator and/or register for a free workshop.
Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Volunteers talking to a boater about invasive species through Clean Boats, Clean Waters.
Volunteers can also help stop the spread of invasives species across the state by becoming involved in the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program. Volunteers are trained to organize and conduct watercraft inspections at the boat landings in their communities. Trained volunteers then educate boaters on how and where invasive species are most likely to hitch a ride into water bodies. By performing boat and trailers checks, distributing informational brochures, collecting and reporting suspect specimens, volunteers can make a difference in helping to prevent the spread of invasive species. To Get Involved: Register for a free workshop.
Lake Leaders Institute
Lake fairs are a popular way for lake organizations to educate members and lake visitors. The Lake Leaders Institute helps leaders of local lake organizations share information and grow their capacity.
The Institute seminars are designed to stretch the minds of people. Explore new ideas about lakes and the management of human use of lakes. The Institute also seeks to develop networks to share experiences and to encourage participants to learn from each other. The core curriculum is delivered every other year. To Get Involved: Visit the University of Wisconsin Extension Lakes website to nominate yourself, or a neighbor.