November seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye! Project tasks included drafting the 2018-2019 Outreach, Engagement, and Communication plan, working with Technical Team subgroups on recreation, navigation, and water quality issues, and drafting grant applications to request funding assistance for aquatic vegetation surveys of all four Winnebago Lakes. Additional details about project progress is provided below. If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the information listed on the right hand side of this article.
Project Outreach and Engagement
Oshkosh Boat Club invited the Winnebago Waterways Program to give a presentation about the lake management planning project to their members at their November 15th meeting. Their meeting was well attended and their members had great questions. The Club expressed interest in staying involved with the project and we welcome their participation! We also attended the Winnebagoland Conservation Alliance monthly meeting which took place on November 9th.
We spent some time in November developing a variety of strategies to continue building awareness about the lake management planning project and ensure we provide adequate opportunities for stakeholders to engage in the planning project. Our goal is to have the Outreach, Engagement, and Communication plan for 2018-2019 completed over the next week.
Winnebago Waterways Steering Committee:
The Steering Committee holds, on average, two meetings per month; one in-person and the other through a conference call. For the month of November, the in-person meeting was held on November 10th. The second meeting was rescheduled for December due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Technical Team Updates – as of 11/30/2017:
Aquatic invasive species/Aquatic plant management Technical Team:
The Team developed a plan for full point-intercept aquatic vegetation surveys on all four Winnebago Lakes. A sub-group of team members finalized the sampling plan at the beginning of November. Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance sent out a request for proposals to aquatic plant management consulting firms. Proposal Submissions were due November 29th, 2017. Those proposals are currently under review. Once a proposal is chosen, we will draft and submit a WI DNR grant application for request funding assistance. The grant applications are due December 10th, 2017. Once that grant application is submitted, the Technical Team will switch gears and begin drafting the AIS Strategic Plan for the Winnebago System. The next full meeting will be scheduled for January 2018.
Water Quality Technical Team:
The Team continues to work on adding water quality related documents and data to the project inventory. The purpose of the inventory is to have information at the finger tips of the Technical Teams as they work to develop management recommendations. Our long-term goal is to eventually make the documents and data we’ve collected available to the public.
We’ve also been collaborating with another project taking place on Lake Winnebago related to water quality. The DNR, with funding assistance from the EPA, is developing a conceptual model to better understand the drivers of water quality in the lake and help determine the potential for restoration activities with the goal of improving water quality.
Habitat, Fish & Wildlife Technical Team:
The Team is working to develop site identification and evaluation methods for areas with potential for habitat restoration in all four Winnebago Lakes. There are several sites that have already been identified by Winnebago County and area organizations in the Upper Pool Lakes as having restoration potential. The Team would like to identify additional sites with potential for habitat restoration as well as sites appropriate for protection, maintenance, enhancement, and creation of habitat. FWWA recommends a method be developed for a comprehensive evaluation of all four lakes for habitat potential. The Team will work in small sub-groups over the next month. Information collected during those meetings will be used to draft a strategy for identifying and prioritizing potential habitat improvement sites. The Team will then review and improve the draft strategy during a full Team meeting in January 2018.
Recreational Lake Use, Access, & Navigation Technical Team:
The Team is working to develop recommendations to improve lake access and local lake use for a variety of user groups. A sub-group is working to collect information and identify issues with navigation and safety in the Winnebago Lakes (for example: locations, management, and maintenance of navigation markers). The Team has been communicating through an online discussion spreadsheet to explore and identify issues and solutions for a variety of lake access topics (boats, silent sports, shoreline fishing, ice access, etc.).
Follow the Fox Wolf Watershed Alliance’s Winnebago Waterways Program on our Winnebago Waterways Facebook Page or @WinnWaterways on Twitter! You can also sign-up for email updates at WinnebagoWaterways.org.