Welcome to Lake Wissota Improvement and Protection association Website. This site is designed to provide up-to-date information about LWIPA activities, our organization, resources, and important issues that affect property owners, recreational users of Lake Wissota, and others who enjoy and value this wonderful resource. Please use the drop-down navigation links above to explore this site and view the many activities and projects of the LWIPA.
The Lake Wissota Improvement & Protection Association is a 501C3 non profit organization made up of volunteers with the common goal to preserve, enhance and protect Lake Wissota. Please join us in the pursuit of this goal.
Lake Wissota Stewardship Update
The Lake Wissota Stewardship Project (LWSP) is entering its 14th year of operation. It is a joint public-private venture with Chippewa County’s Land Conservation and Forestry Department (LCFM) and the Lake Wissota Improvement and Protection Association (LWIPA) with the goal of reducing nutrient and sediment deposits in Lake Wissota. Originally focused on the Little Lake Wissota and funded by the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewery as a 5-year pilot project, it was expanded in 2018 to include the Yellow River Watershed, encouraging landowners to install stream buffers, sediment basins, and other conservation practices. Most recently, an emphasis has been placed on promoting cover crops, an agricultural practice that will protect both surface water and groundwater. Cover crops can also improve soil quality, while reducing fertilizer costs. Truly a win-win for farming and conservation.
Those of us living on the shores of Lake Wissota see the day-to-day changes in water quality. We know there are clear days and green days and the difference might be which way the wind is blowing. But measuring progress needs to be a long-term scientific process with established baseline data. To do that our LWSP project manager wrote a Nine Key Elements Plan, with terms like phosphorus load, Secchi Disk, and Trophic State Index (TSI). While confusing for ordinary folks, these tools and benchmarks allow provide objective measurements for recording progress. Monitoring practices will continue in both the Little Lake and Yellow River watersheds, with the DNR and LWIPA sampling water quality over multiple years. We know that progress will be slow, but it is being made.
Between 12 landowners, 135.7 acres of wetland and stream buffers were installed. The buffers were planted to either grasses or trees. Under this project over 40 sediment basins are “filling in” providing visible proof to even ordinary citizens of sediment diversion. Total phosphorus, which is a measure of unused particulate and plant bound phosphorus, is down slightly in the Little Lake. Water clarity as measured at specific locations with a Secchi Disk has, over a 10-year period, improved by a foot. The much larger Yellow River Watershed Project, with different soil conditions and more agricultural activity, is only 5 years into interventions with data still being collected. A much longer measurement regarding the entire Lake Wissota is the Trophic State Index (TSI). The TSI measures biological productivity (nutrient content). Water bodies with a TSI of 0 -29 are minimally productive, 30-45 are moderately productive, 46-70 generally are sufficiently productive. Over 71-100 indicates an overabundance of nutrients. The average TSI for the entire Lake Wissota over the last 22 years is 59.26, which is a good number. More importantly the variability caused by extreme rain events has decreased significantly over the last nine years. Excessive nutrients aren’t being washed into our lake. So perhaps our efforts are showing promise for the future. Conservation of our land and water is a long-term goal that needs short term wins to maintain motivation. Sometimes, “not getting worse” is a victory for conservation.
Beginning in 2022 our contract with LCFM was changed to a rolling three-year contract renewed annually. The continuity of such an arrangement is one that is good for landowners and will be viewed favorably by those agencies offering grants. Our current Stewardship Fund is adequate through 2024. To continue our efforts beyond the time the LWIPA will be starting a fundraising campaign in the future. We’re hoping that everyone will continue to be Stewards of Lake Wissota.
LWIPA has had a busy year with multiple activities.
At our Annual meeting, we hosted author Ted Rulseh of Northern Wisconsin. Ted spoke about the importance of caring for and maintaining our lakes, especially as shorelines become more developed and the homes on them take up a larger footprint. His book ‘Ripple Effects: How We’re Loving Our Lakes to Death’ is based on research and reports, as well as personal experiences of lake living with the goal of getting us to think how we can protect the lake that brings us so much joy.
In June, ‘From Land to Lakes’ was hosted by the Chippewa Valley Producer – Led Watershed Council. The day began with a tour of the Mike and Rosanne Zwiefelhofer farm in Bloomer to show methods they use to prevent run-off and erosion into our groundwater and waterways and eventually into Lake Wissota. After that, board members of the LWIPA provided farmers pontoon tours in the Yellow River/ Moon Bay area. This provided an opportunity for our members to show local farmers how lakeshore owners are doing their part to protect the lake. Homeowners that have completed Healthy Lakes and Rivers projects on their property were pointed out and we even stopped at a few houses to view and learn about rain gardens, water diversion and native plants that are helpful practices in preventing run off into the lake. We finished the day by all joining back at Kamp Kenwood for locally sourced beef, beans, and beers!
One of our most important projects is the Lake Wissota Stewardship Project, which was originally started by Leinenkugel’s and Chippewa County Land Conservation and Forest Management in an effort to protect Lake Wissota and the surrounding watershed. When that was established, a fundraising campaign raised $50,000 a year for five years. There is funding to continue this through 2025, at which time additional money will be needed to extend the program. To ensure the Stewardship Project continues, in the future we’ll be reaching out for pledges and contributions from local businesses, organizations, and homeowners. Please consider contributing so we can continue the work to protect our lake.
The board for LWIPA consists of 12 members, however we currently have one opening with another expected in the spring. If you have an interest, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to get your feet wet in LWIPA without being on the board? We have opportunities to volunteer on committees such as fishing, social media, picnic, and water quality. All financial and volunteer help is appreciated in support of YOUR lake association.
The February Board of Directors Meeting will be moved one week to February 21 and will be at the Lafayette Town Hall at 6:30pm as usual.
Rail bridge on Lake Wissota will not be raised
If you have donated toward the bridge raising project and instead of getting your money back would like your donation to go toward the LWIPA that would help in continuing the work the association is doing to improve water quality on Lake Wissota.
We are exited to announce the completion of the Nine Key Element Watershed Plan For The Lower Yellow River Watershed and Moon Bay of Lake Wissota. This opens the door for future funding of clean water projects in the Yellow River watershed. Click here for a copy of the plan.
Lake Wissota Facts
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