PILLAR PROJECTS

Every year, we complete pillar projects aimed at improving water quality in Big Green Lake. This work is important, but the GLA also recognizes that this is just the beginning of addressing the lake's problems. We will need to scale up our efforts even more in the face of environmental and human inputs that threaten its water quality.

 

The projects are divided into three categories known as our pillar projects. They are:

Project Clean Streams, Project Green Acres, Project Invader Defense.

PILLAR PROJECT: CLEAN STREAMS

OBJECTIVE

Stream and wetland restoration to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Green Lake.

COST

$80,000 per mile of restored stream

PROGRESS

Eight streams, also known as tributaries, flow into Big Green Lake. Some of these tributaries are classified as exceptional waters while others are listed on the impaired waters list. 

1. Assembly Creek, 0.2 miles long

2. Dakin Creek, 6.2 miles long

  • Restored: 3,600 feet

3. Hill Creek, 1.8 miles long

  • Restored: 9,740 feet

4. Roy Creek, 7.2 miles long

  • Restored: 9,689 feet

5. Silver Creek, 34 miles long

  • Restored: 842 feet

6. Spring Creek, 2.5 miles long

  • Restored: 3,600 feet

7. Wuerches Creek, 4.4 miles long

  • Restored: 892 feet

8. White Creek, 1.1 miles long

  • Restored: 520 feet

 

PILLAR PROJECT: GREEN ACRES

Since over 65% of our drainage area is agricultural, we have to think beyond our lake and think about the 107 square miles that drain into Big Green. Project Green Acres focuses on building a community of farmers who are economically and environmentally sustainable. This includes:

  • Scholarships: Since the average age of a farmer in Green Lake is 65 years old, we must invest in educating the next generation of farmers. As part of our Agricultural Stewards Scholarship program, we send farmers to workshops to learn about practices that are good for the land and good for Green Lake. 

  • Demonstration Farm: We helped launch the watershed's first-ever demonstration farm at Pollack-Vu Dairy. Through his participation in the demo farm network, Chris Pollack has:
    implemented no-till practices; grazed cover crops; utilized a roller crimper to roll rye after plantingvsoybeans into the cover crop; had temporary temperature sensors installed in a no-till field and a conventionally-tilled field; and collected some Haney soil health tests. It's an important informational resource for other farmers in our watershed.

  • Annual Event: Each year, we host a Land & Lake Family Field Day. This day helps display the economic and environmental impact of implementing best management practices. 

  • Equipment: In 2021, the GLA purchased a no-till drill with a prairie seed attachment. The equipment is being modified to allow it to interseed cover crops, in addition to other uses. Since access to the appropriate equipment to interseed cover crops was a limiting factor to implementation for farmers, we are pleased to provide this equipment to farmers in the watershed to reduce agricultural sources of phosphorus loading to Green Lake.

 

PILLAR PROJECT:

INVADER DEFENSE

Green Lake's tiny zebra mussels carry a massive reminder that aquatic invasive species (AIS) permanently damage our lake. We've made it a top priority to manage the invasive species Big Green has and to make sure no additional species invade our waters.

Since there's no going back once invasive species infect our lake, we're equally focused on preventing new aquatic invasive species from hitching a ride to Green Lake. These initiatives include:

Clean Boats Clean Waters
The GLA aims to receive a WDNR grant each year to annually hire technicians who will serve as Clean Boats Clean Waters Inspectors at Green Lake’s public boat launches. This effort reduces the likelihood of a new AIS being introduced into Green Lake. 

DASH at Public Boat Launches
The GLA is working with the WDNR and a contractor to sponsor the use of Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (“DASH”) technology at key Green Lake’s boat launches to remove invasive species from these points of entry. 

The benefit of this technology is that it removes the root of the plant (versus the weed harvester, which gives plants a “haircut” and results in plant fragments that can repopulation). When used in successive years, DASH is reported to make a noticeable improvement in AIS abundance.

Boat Wash Station
The best way to keep AIS from spreading throughout our waterways is to inspect every boat that enters and exits Green Lake for any plants or debris, and to wash each boat when possible. That is why a boat wash station at Dodge Memorial County Park will include a high-pressure wash unit, which is effective at removing small-bodied organisms.