Lake Management Topics:
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
AIS are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health. As part of the planning process, an Aquatic Invasive Species Strategic Plan will be developed for the Winnebago Lakes and tributaries. The strategic plan will identify and describe: where AIS have been identified in the Lakes and identify gaps in information about AIS in the system; past and current prevention and control efforts; goals and recommended strategies for preventing/controlling AIS including AIS education and outreach.
Aquatic Plant Management (APM)
A healthy, productive lake has a variety of aquatic plant species which helps prevent invasive plants from establishing and makes the plant community more resilient. Overgrowth of aquatic plants can impede navigation and recreation. APM is a component of a lake management plan that balances stakeholders’ interests and expectations when developing realistic aquatic plant goals for the lake. The APM plan helps to guide decision making and will allow progress to be monitored over time. It also will help to coordinate collaborative efforts for more effective aquatic plant management activities.
Habitat, Fish, & Wildlife
The LMP will identify habitat areas and practices that are critical for healthy, sustainable populations of wildlife and fish. The goal of fish management is to have a fish community that is able to sustain healthy, natural populations and are able to adapt to the pressures of fishing because the needs for fish reproduction and growth are met within the lakes. This may mean educating anglers to encourage ethical fishing behaviors to ensure fishing pressures don’t throw the fish community out of balance. The goal of habitat management is to have in-lake, near shore, shoreland, and wetland habitats that are able to support and provide shelter for a variety of fish, invertebrate, waterfowl, shorebird, and mammal species. Otters, beavers, muskrats, and waterfowl can be found along the shoreline in search of food, water, shelter, or nesting material. Healthy in-lake habitat for fish is composed of a diversity of aquatic plants and woody structure.
All four of the Winnebago Lakes are currently listed as impaired. Water quality described the desired chemical, physical, and biological conditions of a waterbody. The goal of the LMP is to describe management actions that improve the lakes so that all four of the lakes are fishable, drinkable, swimmable, and aesthetically enjoyable.
Land use, practices, and management within a lake’s watershed can impact both its water quantity and quality. The land nearest the water generally has the largest impact on water quality in the lake. The LMP will describe current land use within the lakes’ watershed and provide recommendations for practices that can reduce or prevent nutrients and other pollutants from reaching the water.
Shoreland practices can impact both water quality and habitat. The most important and productive areas of a lake are in the near-shore zone where light reaches the lake bottom. Shoreland areas near the water provide transitional habitat for many aquatic and terrestrial animals including birds, frogs, turtles, and small and large mammals. Healthy, natural vegetation and other shoreland practices can help to improve the quality of the runoff that is flowing across the landscape towards the lake. The LMP will examine current shoreland conditions around the lakes and provide recommendations for beneficial shoreland practices.
Recreational Lake Use, Access, & Navigation
Lake use for recreation increases the quality of life for area residents and has a tremendous impact on our economy. The goal of Lake Management is to ensure that the lake can continue to provide the benefits that attract homeowners and lake users. This section of the LMP will likely cover lake access, use, recreation, navigation, and tourism. This includes land and water trails, non-motorized vessel and ADA access, navigation signage, buoys, and safety, tourism opportunities, and many more.
Outreach and Education
The Winnebago Lakes are wonderful resources that provide drinking water to thousands, bring money to the region through tourism dollars, and offer numerous recreational opportunities. To increase the chances for success in efforts to improve and protect the lakes, it’s important we help area residents get to know their lakes. This section of the LMP would recommend ways to increase the visibility of the lakes to the surrounding region, teach people about lake issues as well as potential solutions, and above all get more people out on the water to enjoy the lakes!
What are we missing?
Did we forget something? Please let us know – we want to make sure we cover as many lake concerns as possible. You can submit your ideas through our online feedback form at www.winnebagowaterways.org or by contacting the Winnebago Waterways Program Coordinator at (920)851-0948 or firstname.lastname@example.org