Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aquatic Invasive Species

This Saturday, May 2nd, is the beginning of open water fishing season in Wisconsin. This means an increase in tourism that will provide a much needed boost to the economy, people having fun fishing, and the possibility of the spreading of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Fortunately, it is pretty easy to prevent the spread of AIS, even if they are nearly impossible to get rid of once a lake becomes infected. All that needs to be done is for anglers to check there boats for aquatic vegetation that might be hanging onto the propellers or other places on the boat and remove them before you leave a lake. While this is enough for most AIS, there is one type that requires a different prevention plan. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) is a deadly fish virus that can be transferred from lake to lake in the body of a fish. This means that if you use minnows for bait in one lake, using them again in another lake means that you might be infecting that entire lake with VHS.
Possibly the most important part of the fight against AIS is education. People will not bother to try and prevent the spread of invasive species if they don't know about them or don't know how they are spread. To help this problem, volunteers are being posted at certain lakes to hand out educational flyers and brochures, as well as to check boats for invasive species. With their and your help we can keep most of our lakes free from the invasion of exotic organisms trying to conquer our water system.

For more information about aquatic invasive species please visit these websites:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shallow Lakes Program

Wisconsin lakes have been unusually low water levels lately. Changing lake levels changes the ecosystem, and thus poses new problems for the area. These problems include water quality and wildlife habitat issues. Smaller, shallower lakes allow sunlight to penetrate deeper. This allows for plants to grow in areas that were formerly too deep for them to live. This changes the entire base of the food chain, so it affects the entire ecosystem. Sometimes this change can benefit the ecosystem, while sometimes the change is detrimental. Whatever it does, it means that human behavior has to change too in order to keep the lake healthy. To provide information and answer questions about what changes the low water levels cause, the Wisconsin Lakes Association and the Town of Washington are sponsoring a presentation: "Declining Lake Levels: Living Lightly on Less Water”. This program is being held on Saturday, May 2, 2009 from 9 to 11 A.M. in the Northland Pines High School auditorium in Eagle River. Speakers include Tim Asplund, Statewide Limnologist, WI-DNR Bureau of Watershed Management, Susan Knight, Assistant Faculty Associate, Center for Limnology, UW Madison and Buzz Sorge, Lake Management Planner, West Central Region.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mere weeks after the first loon was sighted in the Madison area, an explosion of loons has taken place. Reports have come to LoonWatch of hundreds of loons on the lakes in the Madison area, with over 50 in Monona Bay alone, where loon numbers have remained unseasonably high since the beginning of the migration. And loons were not the only treat in Monona Bay recently. A flock of four white pelicans and a bald eagle were also spotted in the bay recently. Hopefully everyone will have such good luck bird watching this year!