gtag('config', 'UA-113861515-1');

Fourth National Climate Assessment - Midwest Summary

The Fourth National Climate Assessment was released recently, and chapter 21 provides a summary of the situation in the Midwest.

This report covers the impact of expected climate changes on health, agriculture, forestry, water quality, and natural resources in Wisconsin and nearby states. It specifically mentions the delicate nature of two-story cold water fisheries such as LCO (see Fig. 21.6).

Sawyer County Boat Wake Ordinance

Sawyer County has proposed a resolution/ordinance about boat wakes in an attempt to, “provide save and healthful condition for the enjoyment of aquatic recreation consistent with public rights and interests and the capability of the water resources to minimize shoreline erosion.” The resolution proposes a 700-foot buffer from the shore for boats creating enhanced wakes (map for proposed buffer zone on LCO). For more information on effects of boat wakes on shoreline erosion, please refer to:

The Effects of Motorized Watercraft on Aquatic Ecosystems - Timothy R. Asplund, WDNR

Low-Speed Boating . . . Managing the Wave - Doug Keller, LakeLine Vol. 37, Fall 2017

Protecting Water Quality & Resuspension Caused by Wakeboard Boats - Heather Harwood, LakeLine Vol. 37, Fall 2017

Wakeboarding in Michigan: Impacts and Best Practices - Marlena Smith and Erin Jarvie, Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society

2018 LCO Lakes Invasive Weeds Pre-Treatment Survey

The 2018 AIS pre-treatment survey shows that COLA's aggressive AIS strategy has worked well. The fight to eliminate invasive plants will never be completed, but thanks to Steve Umland, COLA’s AIS coordinator, what was once an annual pitched battle is now a mere skirmish. Curly leaf pondweed (CLP) fouled much of Musky Bay and many other parts of LCO 10 years ago. Steve, his many volunteers and AIS “spotters,” supported by several WDNR AIS grants have helped reduce CLP infestations from a high of 90+ acres to less than 10 acres this year. Many of the remaining CLP patches can now be pulled by hand.

Unfortunately, small patches of Eurasian watermilfoil have recently been spotted in big and little LCO. Eurasian watermilfoil has been termed “CLP on steroids,” so Steve’s job will not become any easier. At this point, these patches are being pulled by hand, but COLA needs more property owners to watch for new infestations.


COLA Petitions WDNR to List Correct Cause of Impairment for Lac Courte Oreilles in 2018 Impaired Waters List

Every two years, Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to publish a list of all waters that are not meeting water quality standards. In the proposed 2018 list update, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) proposes to add 240 new water segments.  The WDNR issued a notice on November 15, 2017, soliciting public comments on its proposed 2018 list of Impaired Waters. The WDNR is proposing to list all of Lac Courte Oreilles as impaired—which is a good—but, it is proposing to list “low dissolved oxygen” (DO) as an indicator, or symptom, of that impairment without citing Total Phosphorus as the cause of the impairment. During the Public Comment Period, through Dec. 29, 2017, the Courte Oreilles Lakes Association (COLA) and others are requesting that the WDNR also correctly list the cause of the low DO impairment of LCO (click here for the full story).

Please help by sending a letter or email requesting that the WDNR amend the listing by including the correct reason for impairment — Total Phosphorus. A sample message is available here.

The following is from the WDNR: “Public comments may be submitted by December 29, 2017, and can be emailed to DNR at, or sent by U.S. mail to Ashley Beranek, DNR, Water Evaluation Section (WY/3), Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Comments postmarked or received by December 29, 2017, will be considered before submitting the final draft list to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.” 

COLA and the LCO Tribe Request that All of Lac Courte Oreilles be Listed as an Impaired Water

Musky Bay is already listed as an impaired water because of excess phosphorus. Unfortunately phosphorus levels in other parts of LCO are now rising to dangerous levels as well. COLA and the LCO Tribe have completed an assessment of the last five years of sampling data and determined these levels that will result in the extinction of the cold-water fish in LCO. In addition, these high levels of phosphorus are resulting in more algae and algal blooms, a decrease in water clarity, and excessive aquatic plant growth. See the full story with complete details and how you can be ready to help.

Creel Survey Report for Lac Courte Oreilles 2016 to 2017

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regularly conducts fishery surveys of area lakes and reservoirs to gather information on species composition, population size, reproductive success, size/age distribution, and growth rates. The information from the netting and electrofishing surveys helps the WDNR determine the best management practices for that body of water. Another important aspect of a fishery is the amount of harvest that is occurring on the lake. This information is collected by creel census or creel survey. See the 2016-2017 Report with explanations and conclusions by Max Wolter, Fishery Biologist, WDNR.

WisCALM Assessment and Guidance Updated for Lac Courte Oreilles

Wisconsin’s Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM), from the WDNR, provides guidance on assessment of water quality data against surface water quality standards and for Clean Water Act reporting on surface water quality status and trends. WisCALM is updated for each biennial surface water assessment cycle and was recently updated for the 2018 assessment cycle. See the attached update for Lac Courte Oreilles. Assessing waterbodies against water quality standards and identifying impaired waters that don’t meet standards is part of the overarching federal Clean Water Act (CWA) framework for restoring impaired waters. See more details about WisCALM on the WDNR website.