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PROGRAM PILLARS

Formerly known as our Pillar Projects or IMPACT, we’ve restructured our programming to align with our new Strategic Plan goals. With multiple projects in progress for the sake of our lake, this structure better reflects our priorities and efforts in the Green Lake watershed. It takes all of us to make a difference for this lake, including all our partners and every member of the community.

The projects are divided into four categories known as our Program Pillars. They are:

Phosphorus Reduction, AIS Prevention, Data Evaluation, Community Activation.

P Reduction

PHOSPHORUS REDUCTION

In collaboration with our partners, the GLA implements solutions to reduce the lake’s incoming phosphorus pollution—which impairs Green Lake’s water quality, fueling plant growth and degrading conditions for both our community and aquatic animals. 

OUR CHALLENGE

We know our biggest problem—phosphorus—and that we must achieve a 57% reduction in phosphorus loading to remove the lake from the WDNR’s impaired waters list.

 

The primary locations of the problem are the inlets at County Highway A and County Highway K. The Silver Creek inlet is the source of 48% of the phosphorus entering the lake annually, and the Southwest inlet is the origin of 29% of the lake’s annual phosphorus. Together, these two locations account for nearly 80% of the lake’s annual phosphorus loading.

CAPTure    Structure

A novel, small-scale filtration system to intercept phosphorus from an agricultural field detention basin  is installed and will be trialed over the next three years in the Green Lake watershed. This project is conducted by the GLA, in conjunction with the Green Lake County Land Conservation Department and consulting firm, Kieser & Associates.

The project is funded through WDNR grants and GLA members’ generous donations. If the systems are successful in removing phosphorus from stored agricultural runoff, strategic placement of additional units in the watershed will be evaluated.

TM

Stream Restoration

Over the past several years, the GLA has provided financial and volunteer support to restore sections of streambanks on Roy Creek, White Creek, and Dakin Creek.

On Dakin Creek, a perched culvert and lack of adequate habitat prevented the trout stream from being a suitable habitat for brook trout since the 1950s. The GLA worked with several partners to replace two culverts, repair sections of the stream, and provide fish habitat. Several thousand brook trout have now been stocked in Dakin Creek and are thriving. We brought back the brookies!

No-Till Drill for Cover Crops and Buffer Strips

The GLA recently purchased a no-till drill with a prairie seed attachment to allow farmers to trial interseeding cover crops and planting prairie strips on their land. These practices form a green blanket over the soil’s surface—primarily during springtime when conditions are most vulnerable to transporting phosphorus to the lake.

Our hope is that, as farmers see the benefits of these practices, more producers will incorporate these beneficial water quality practices into their operations.

 

Thank you to the Green Lake County Land Conservation Department for partnering with the GLA on this program.

AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES PREVENTION

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:

AIS Prevention

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. 

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. Learn more about our boat wash station here.

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.

DATA EVALUATION

The GLA gathers data and information that drives the Lake Management Planning Team to identify water quality problems, inform solutions, and track our collective progress. 

Green Lake’s characteristics and challenges are unique, and our solutions must be equally

unique. In most instances, it is not possible to simply adopt strategies that may have been

tried on other lakes. The GLA works with federal agencies, academic institutions, local

governments, and many others to continue designing studies to better research the lake’s

problems and to develop implementable actions to monitor and moderate them.

Community Activation

COMMUNITY ACTIVATION

The GLA cultivates community engagement in the health of the lake by mobilizing our members, volunteers, and partners to act on Green Lake’s behalf. 

It took more than one hundred volunteers to restore the water quality of Dakin Creek, one of Green Lake’s tributaries, so that brook trout—an indicator of clean water—could thrive again for the first time in more than 70 years. It will take the effort of the entire community to restore our lake, and we can’t do it without the dedication of our volunteers and the mobilization of our watershed.

The GLA’s commitment to education and high-quality communication is critical to informing the community, opinion leaders, governmental officials, GLA members, and the next generation about required actions to protect, preserve, and ultimately restore Green Lake. As part of this educational initiative, our efforts will establish curricula for students, teachers, and community members, and will develop training programs and workshops for farmers, landowners, landscapers, contractors, and shoreline owners.

As we build the foundation for a more robust volunteer program and an educated watershed community, we look forward to furthering our relationships with local schools, businesses, and governments to expand our watershed-wide impact.
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