WHAT’S NEW ON THE FLOWAGE?
LAKE DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETING
Saturday, July 1, 2023 at 9:00 am
at the new Conover Recreation Building
Memorial Day and the Fourth of July holidays tend to be especially busy times on our lakes, and hazardous for loons. Loon nests can be washed out by boat waves, and loons will abandon their nest if humans get too close. Young chicks cannot yet dive deep, and pop back up like little corks. Let visiting friends, family, lake residents and lake visitors know to avoid nests and these precious little grey fluff balls by boating slowly on the lake and avoiding loons.
Give the nesting loons and loon families some space. Use the 200 ft rule and observe this loons from a distance. This allows the adults to care for the eggs and chicks, and for you to see natural behavior.
WATER QUALITY COMMITTEE YEAR-END REPORT AND CHARTS
Sue Holloway gave a report on the Committee’s activities this past season
- There are now 8 members on the Water Quality Committee. Some training will be set up for new members this spring and summer.
- The second of a three-year grant for water chemistry testing was completed for Baker Lake (phosphorus/nitrogen), to better understand the blue-green algae blooms. Although not as bad as in previous years, 2022 still saw some BGA, most remarkably a bloom in the colder weather of fall!
- The North Lakeland Discover Center again set the water level gauges at the Baker Lake Landing and at the Dam site. The Dam Tender logs the water level at least weekly during the season. Since the water levels for the last two years on Baker and the Flowage have been identical, it was decided to install and calibrate only the Dam site gauge this coming year. It is calibrated now to the surveyors benchmark, enabling the calculation of the water level in “feet above mean sea level”. An experimental winter rod has been installed, and if the ice cooperates, it will read the rough water level at ice-out – without waiting for the NLDS to install the official gauge.
- Vilas County collected several different milfoil plants and had them analyzed at a lab. They were several species of native milfoil, luckily!
- Update on phragmites eradication (see below)
Here are charts depicting Flowage water levels, rain, and Baker Lake clarity for 2022.
The control process is called “cut-stem application”. Each stalk is cut near the ground (or water), and a few drops of the chemicals are applied to the hollow stem with a syringe. The chemicals are specific to phragmites, and do not harm aquatic plants or animals, Glyphosate and Imazapyr, 50/50. A permit from the DNR is required for application close to or in the water. Although we received a permit for this year, we won’t use it, and will re-apply next year.
The eradication will take place in the fall of 2023, after the seed-heads have formed. Until then, the plants’ energy brings resources upward from the roots toward the growth process. Once the seed-heads have formed, the plants begins to draw resources back down to it roots (rhizomes), and will take the chemicals with it, where they will do the most good (damage!) Here are pictures of the phragmites growth process:
IMPORTANCE OF BAT MONITORING TO SAVING WISCONSIN’S BATS
In 2014, white-nose syndrome (WNS) began to devastate Wisconsin bat populations. White-nose syndrome is caused by a white fungus that grows on infected bats and interrupts their hibernation. They wake up, and burn up their stored energy. The infected bats starve to death before winter ends. Bat monitoring by volunteers is helping Wisconsin DNR and other groups to assess the impact and, hopefully, save our bats.
This summer, the Mosbruckers, Holloways, and friends have paddled the route from Baker Lake through the Little Tamarack Flowage and Spring Lake several times, on dark and sometime moonlit nights, to monitor bats. Here is the latest map. Quite a variety – hope the bats are coming back!