OCLRA eNews – January 2024

Please share this information and the OCLRA website (www.oclra.org)
with the members of your lake association, district and/or friends
group and with your personal networks.

The next OCLRA Board meeting is Monday, February 12, from 9 to 10:30
a.m., at the ADRC building in Rhinelander, across the parking lot from
Trig’s grocery. You will receive the agenda in advance and there will be an
option to attend via Zoom. All are welcome.

OCLRA is on Facebook – pay us a visit!

2024 Six-County Lakes Meeting: Save the date
Town of Newbold OKs draft ordinance addressing enhanced wakes
Vermont takes action against enhanced wakes
Proposed rule would mandate boat ballast decontamination
Vilas County passes a tourist rooming house ordinance
Oneida County Board calls for more PFAS testing
Stop Spiny: Check out this February webinar
Become Salt Wise during Winter Salt Awareness Week.
John Bates’ book highlights lakes for getting lost

OCLRA is on Facebook – pay us a visit!
OCLRA now has a presence on Facebook. Please stop at our page and
check it out; just search on OCLRA. This is part of our endeavor to raise
our profile and, in particular, forge stronger connections with our member
lake groups.

2024 Six-County Lakes Meeting: Save the date
The 2024 Six-County Lakes Meeting is set for Friday, July 12, at Nicolet
College. The theme and program are still to be decided. Last year’s
meeting drew record attendance of 183. The meeting is for residents of
Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Iron, Langlade and Lincoln counties and any others that may be interested.
Watch this newsletter for more information as plans advance. In the meantime, save
the date.

Town of Newbold OKs draft ordinance addressing enhanced wakes

The Newbold Town Board on January 11 approved a draft ordinance
regulating activities involving enhanced wakes on lakes in the township.
The ordinance would prohibit enhanced wake creation activities on lakes of
less than 1,500 acres. On Newbold lakes it would prohibit the use of ballast
tanks, water sacks, wave shapers or fins to cause a boat to operate in a
bow-high manner and thereby enhance its wake. On a 5-0 vote, the board
agreed to send the draft ordinance and condition report to the DNR for
review and comment. The DNR has 30 days from receipt of the draft to
complete its review, after which the board would vote on final adoption. The
ordinance was developed by the Newbold Enhanced Wakes Committee,
which includes representatives from several lakes in the township, in an
effort led by the Two Sisters Lake Property Owners Lake Association. As
amended by the board, the draft ordinance includes a two-year sunset
provision, after which the board would evaluate its effectiveness and
possibly make adjustments.

Vermont takes action against enhanced wakes

Vermont is close to adoption of what would be, so far, the nation’s strictest
limitations on wake-enhanced sports. The rules, expected to be in effect for
the coming boating season, limit enhanced wake sports to at least 500 feet
from shore, in water at least 20 feet deep. Further, enhanced wakes would
be allowed only on lakes where the state has mapped a zone of at least 50
acres designated for such activity. Also, to prevent the spread of invasive
species in ballast water, wakeboats would need to be registered to operate
on a specific lake, and their ballast tanks would have to be decontaminated
before the boat could be taken to on another lake. Before becoming official,
the rule has to complete a 45-day agency review to confirm that all
appropriate rule-making steps were followed.
Proposed rule would mandate boat ballast decontamination
The Last Wilderness Alliance and others are seeking to secure a
modification of a DNR rule requiring the drainage of water from boats after
removal from a lake to include a requirement that all boat ballast systems
be decontaminated and certified before a ballasted boat is put into
Wisconsin waters. The idea is that this rule can be quickly implemented,
using a petition process, as opposed to waiting for state legislation. The
rule also would enable a Clean Boats Clean Waters inspector to verify that
the decontamination has been completed. At present, there are methods
for decontamination using hot water of at least 140 degrees F. For more
information, visit https://lastwildernessalliance.org.

Vilas County passes a tourist rooming house ordinance

The Vilas County Board recently adopted an ordinance regulating tourist
rooming houses (also called short-term rentals). Significantly for lake water
quality protection, the ordinance regulates occupancy in these rental
properties based on the size of the septic system versus the number of
bedrooms or square footage of the home. In many cases, this reduces the
maximum occupancy of the property and thus helps prevent overloading of
septic systems, which can be a significant sourced of water pollution. To
learn more about ordinance, visit the Vilas County Zoning Department.

Oneida County calls for more PFAS testing

Oneida County Clean Waters Action (OCCWA) for a long time has urged
the county to address the PFAS issue. Now the County Board and the
Department of Health have adopted a resolution calling for more testing of
well water for PFAS, known as “forever chemicals.” PCCWA spokesperson
Eric Rempala observes, “Though we provided a sample resolution for the
county to consider, I want to emphasize that the county took ownership of
this resolution, and what you see is the result of their efforts. The resolution
recommends that all areas within six miles of locations where the DNR
allowed application of biosolids be offered well water testing paid for by the
state. It also recommends that biosolids from wastewater treatment
facilities be testes for PFAS before land application in the county. You can
read more about this resolution on the WXPR radio website.
Stop Spiny: Check out this February webinar
The Douglas County Surface Waters Program is offering a “Stop Spiny”
webinar on Thursday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 7 p.m. As most of us know,
invasive spiny water fleas can disrupt lake food webs and harm fisheries.
To learn more and to receive a link to the webinar, contact Zach Stewart
(zach.stewart@douglascountywi.org) or go here.

Become Salt Wise during Winter Salt Awareness Week.

There’s growing awareness about the impact on our lakes from salt used
for de-icing roads, sidewalks and driveways. During Winter Salt Awareness
Week, Jan. 22-26, there will be online presentations daily from 12:30 to
1p.m. Find out more at https://www.wisaltwise.com. If you would like to help
promote awareness of winter salt use and its impact on water quality,
Wisconsin Salt Wise has outreach materials available.

John Bates’ book highlights lakes for getting lost
It’s not new, but it’s still worth mentioning for those who might not have
seen it. Naturalist and author John Bates’ book, Wisconsin’s Wild Lakes: A
Guide to Our Last Undeveloped, Natural Lakes,” describes more than 100
mostly very small lakes tucked away in the forests of our northern counties.
I’ll to refrain from mentioning any by name – I’ll let John’s book do that. I’ve
been to a few of the lakes and can vouch for the magic they hold. If you’re
looking for secret places to fish, you won’t find a lot of specifics here;
John’s priorities lie more with the plant life, aquatic and terrestrial, and the
general character of the water and landscape. You can expect this book to
provide details on how to get to each lake and what you will find there. I’m
amazed at how much legwork this book required, but then again, the work
John does is, for him, more like play. This book is a work of brilliance.