NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,076 days

See This Full Issue

All Previous Archived Issues


June 21, 2011

MADISON -- Efforts to protect and restore Wisconsin's inland lakes are going full throttle across Wisconsin as citizens, and local, state and federal governments work to ensure these natural features remain what Henry David Thoreau famously called the "landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature."

"It takes a lot of work involving a lot of different people and organizations doing a lot of different things to keep lakes in our state in great condition," says Carroll Schaal, who leads the Department of Natural Resources lakes team.

Recent monitoring shows that partners' efforts are paying off: 75 percent of the 3,200 lakes assessed exhibited excellent or good water quality, according to DNR's 2010 Water Quality Report to Congress. And the number of lakes judged as such has grown since 1980 in each of the classifications DNR has assigned lakes based on their size, depth, water sources, drainage area and position within the landscape, the report says.

Here's a sampling of the activities rippling across Wisconsin waters this month:

"We should be proud we have an important resource and we have maintained that," says Tim Asplund, a limnologist for the DNR. "But keeping Wisconsin lakes in good condition is going to take vigilance and investing dollars where we know we can make a difference because the cost and effort to restore a lake once it's degraded can be so great."

Schaal, Asplund and others reflect on successes in cleaning up and protecting lakes, and the ongoing and emerging challenges ahead in A Watershed Year, in the June 2011 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

2011 Lake Protection Grant funds to benefit 3,000 lakes

The list of governments and organizations receiving DNR Lake Protection Grants for 2011 (pdf) demonstrate the diversity of partnerships and projects needed to keep Wisconsin lakes healthy, Schaal says.

Lake Belle View
Jim Amrhein, DNR water management specialist, prepares to stock a northern pike in a restored Lake Belle View in Dane County.
Greg Matthews Photo

There are lake associations, lake districts, land trusts, and various levels of municipal government, especially counties, stepping up to do everything from protecting critical shorelands through regulation, acquisition and voluntary restorations to constructing detention basins to control sediment and phosphorus in runoff to adding alum to break up the recycling of algae-causing phosphorus within a lake after other protective measures have been put in place. Each of the state grants is matched by at least 25 percent in cash or donated services and labor.

"That doesn't include the meetings, the planning and all the preparation that citizens and local officials voluntarily put in to get to the point of conducting these projects," Schaal says. "With this kind of partnership and dedication, Wisconsin's lakes are in good hands."

Communities receiving grants in 2011 are in Barron, Florence, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marathon, Polk, Portage, Rock, St. Croix, Vilas, Waukesha, Washburn, and Waushara counties. All projects are eligible for awards. Before the grant agreements can be issued, project sponsors must submit all documentations to meet all program requirements by Sept. 1, 2011.

A searchable database of Lake Protection Grant awards by location, year or type of activity is available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Carroll Schaal (608) 261-6423

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Need an expert?

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.