Invasive weed control
It’s not all good news in the fight to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into more North Woods lakes, not when major infestation control projects miss out on state funding as the list of infected lakes continues to grow in the heart of Wisconsin’s lake country — Vilas and Oneida counties.
There are now 30 lakes in Vilas County and 22 in Oneida that contain Eurasian water milfoil, the worst of the invasive weeds in terms of control and devastation to navigable waterways in this recreation mecca. Another 11 lakes in Vilas and 12 in Oneida contain curly-leaf pondweed.
Vilas added two lakes to the list the past year, Anvil and Smokey, despite widespread public awareness on prevention, boat inspectors at landings and control projects that target existing infestations. The most recent additions in Oneida were Upper Kaubashine, Lone Stone and Virgin lakes.
Because it is impossible to get 100% cooperation from boaters and to have inspectors at every minute at every landing, we believe the most effective prevention technique is to minimize and contain the existing infestations. Aggressive management will reduce the chance of exotic weeds latching onto boats, trailers and equipment.
That’s why it hurts so bad to see a lack of state funding in the management pipeline. The biggest disappointment in the latest round of control grants is that lake associations on Minocqua and Kawaguesaga lakes on the Minocqua Chain were denied $199,958 in funding for a major control project next spring.
While officials still have a shot at getting a grant in the February cycle prior to next spring, talk of having to gain points or ask for less than 75% of the project costs show that adequate funds are not available to protect our water resources from invasives. As state-owned resources, we don’t believe local taxpayers should have to fund more than a 25% share of lake management costs.
The good news locally is that the Unified Lower Eagle River Chain of Lakes Commission won a $122,576 grant for its ongoing battle to control invasive milfoil. That campaign has been an incredible success story from a prevention standpoint, thanks to local volunteers and both state and local fundraising.
Tawani Foundation cares
What an incredible gift the Tawani Foundation of Chicago has provided for the future of the greater Eagle River area, donating more than $1.6 million to push the Olson Memorial Library renovation fund drive past goal.
Thanks goes to retired Illinois Army National Guard Lt. Col. J.N. Pritzker and family for their presence as second homeowners and their support of the community. Beyond the major grant, they also are establishing a $100,000 endowment fund and a community challenge grant process that could raise another $10,000 a year for 10 years.
Locally, the credit for more than five years of persistent, challenging work goes to numerous library officials, led by campaign committee chairman Phil Jensen.
Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, October 22, 2013 3:00 PM|