Contact(s): Rachel Brookins, DNR wildlife biologist, 920-424-7886; Brian Glenzinski, DU regional biologist, 608-221-1206, ext. 12
OSHKOSH - Details regarding the Lake Poygan Habitat Restoration Area project will be presented at a public informational meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, at the James Coughlin Center in Oshkosh.
The project -- which involves the construction of a long, arcing break wall -- is designed to establish a quiet backwater at the mouth of the Wolf River to aid the growth of native submergent and emergent aquatic plants, improve water quality and create new fish and wildlife habitat.
The conservation group, Ducks Unlimited is holding the public session. DNR experts in wildlife, fisheries and water resources will be there to talk about the agency's involvement in the project. Other partners include Lake Poygan Sportsmen's Club, Winnebago County Land and Water department and trustees for the Fox River Natural Resource Damage Assessment. NRDA provided significant grant funding. The James Coughlin Center is located at 625 E. County Road Y in Oshkosh.
Lake Poygan is one of four lakes that make up the Winnebago pools system. Lake Poygan historically supported dense emergent and submergent aquatic vegetation that provided critical fish and wildlife habitat. Construction of two outlet dams in the 1850s raised the average pool elevation about three feet creating a permanently flooded wetland. Increased water levels have exposed shoreline marshes to excessive wave energy and water depth which have combined to cause extensive loss of valuable wetlands. Re-suspension of unprotected sediments by wave action is resulting in turbidity levels sufficient to preclude significant growth and reestablishment of rooted aquatic macrophytes.
In response to the dramatic loss of thousands of acres of wetlands, deteriorating water quality, degraded fish and wildlife habitat and diminished fish and wildlife populations on the upriver lakes, DNR developed the Winnebago Comprehensive Management Plan with significant input from the public and other state, local and federal agencies. Restoration of the former delta wetland of the Wolf River is part of that plan.
The break wall is designed to protect the former delta wetland from wave action, reduce turbidity and allow sunlight to reach submerged native plants. Phase 1 construction was completed September 2016. Phase 2 construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2019.