WELCOME TO THE OKAUCHEE LAKE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT HOME PAGE
July 12, 2021 – 7PM
Town of Oconomowoc Town Hall
6812 Brown Street
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Please refer to this location often for weed cutting information. The OLMD website is experiencing technical difficulties. The weed cutting information typically found on the upper right side of this page will now be located here on the Home Page for the remainder of the harvesting season.
• Due to the low water level, the OLMD is currently unable to navigate the weed barge into Crane’s Nest for pick-ups. We will continue to monitor the area and will update accordingly.
• As you are aware, the weed growth on Okauchee Lake is significant due the early spring with warm weather. We are currently working to cut the “hot spots” where the weeds have reached the surface in different areas of the lake. Once those areas are complete a more typical rotation of the lake will take place. Please be patient with the new crew as we work through these areas and remember to do your part to make sure cutting can easily take place by following the OLMD barging policy guidelines. It is not necessary to call the OLMD office to report “hot spots.”
Spend your summer on the lake and get paid for it! Training provided! Learn to operate the weed cutter and be part of the lake barge crew. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. All strong, hardworking individuals encouraged to apply. Please contact the OLMD at 262-966-0286 and leave a message that includes the phone number where you can be reached. Thank you!
To view the most recent Lake Level Reports, click on the “Reports” page.
Waukesha County has a new AIS Coordinator! Please welcome Erik Hanson. Erik has a extensive experience as an AIS Coordinator in Montana and he is excited to get to work on Waukesha County lakes! The County is in the process of training interns for the Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program beginning at area boat launch sites for the summer.
For more details, please visit the Waukesha County website at www.waukeshacounty.gov/AIS!
As noted on a postcard recently sent to all OLMD riparian owners, the 2021 OLMD Chemical Weed Spraying Application is now available online on the “Reports” page of this website. Thank you!
As you may be aware, Arnold Groehler, DNR authorized Animal Damage Control Trapper, has been trapping Okauchee Lake for the past three years. Beginning in 2021, Mr. Groehler will begin the maintenance phase of the OLMD Muskrat Control Program. This means that he will trap the entire lake for approximately two weeks in spring and again for one week in fall. Outside those time periods, he will switch to working with property owners on an individual basis with individual landowner responsibility for payment. Mr. Groehler is nationally recognized for his skill and expertise and has gone beyond the OLMD scope of service to accommodate residents in the past three years by being “on call” for OLMD residents with little to no compensation for doing so. Anyone with muskrats or other nuisance animals should contact Arnold Groehler directly by phone at 262-490-9363.
The Okauchee Lake Management District has continued to work hard at controlling the outbreak of Starry Stonewort which was discovered in the lake late last summer. You can see updates on our efforts at the Okauchee Lake Management District website: www.olmd.org. The website contains detailed reports on Starry Stonewort, its impact on lakes, and how it spreads.
It was with that in mind that last fall we encouraged the DNR to allow us to take aggressive and immediate action to control Starry Stonewort, especially because the largest patch, perhaps 4,000 square feet, is located near the marina and launch area of the Golden Mast and the channel. After that effort was denied, we continued meeting with the DNR, and have agreed to use a method of contained chemical application supplemented at the end with diver assisted hand pulling of remaining plant life. However, as was described at the last OLMD meeting held on June 8, 2020, the DNR has insisted that we wait until the Starry Stonewort growth is approximately two feet from the surface before beginning chemical application. The OLMD vehemently disagreed with this approach. Based on advice from marine biologists and those in aquatic invasive species control, we wish to begin treatment now and have made arrangements for all contractors to be available. At this point, the plant is in a growth stage, and it is approximately two feet from the lake bottom. Our aquatic invasive species control consultants believe now is the most effective time to treat the Starry Stonewort, while the chemicals can penetrate through the full plant and before the plant gets high enough that it would be potentially wrapped/chopped in passing propellers and spread, either throughout the lake, or brought up onto the boat and left to be transported to other lakes. The DNR has not relented on its plan to force us to wait until the growth is just two feet from the water surface. The OLMD Commissioners will continue to reach out to the DNR and to our elected officials to see if relief from this decision is possible.
Some have asked what they can do! This is great! You can try to contact your legislator. Okauchee Lake is divided into two Senate and two Assembly districts, and the Senators are Scott Fitzgerald and Chris Kapenga, and Representatives are Cindi Duchow and Barbara Dittrich.
The message we wish to share is that Starry Stonewort is a threat not only to Okauchee Lake, its 1000 homeowners and wonderful hospitality businesses, but also to its downstream neighbors, Oconomowoc Lake, Fowler Lake, and Lac La Belle, and should be treated now! We cannot afford to wait until the plant has grown to a place where it is much more likely to be chopped up and spread by incoming and outgoing boats near the launch site of the Golden Mast. We believe the cost of traditional chemical application is reasonable and it will have negligible, if any, impact upon the native aquatic plant population of Okauchee Lake. While no technique has proven to be wholly effective, this chemical treatment technique is supported by marine biologists, past studies in Indiana, and companies involved in plant management throughout the state, including our OLMD consultants who are exceptionally knowledgeable about our stewardship of this lake. We seek DNR authorization to immediately begin chemical treatment according to the plan that has been identified.
You can contact any of your elected representatives as follows:
Chris Kapenga – Sen.Kapenga@legis.wisconsin.gov; (608) 266-9174; (800) 863-8883
Scott Fitzgerald – Sen.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov; (608) 266-5660
Cindi Duchow – Rep.Duchow@legis.wisconsin.gov; (608) 266-3007; (888) 534-0099
Barbara Dittrich – Rep.Dittrich@legis.wisconsin.gov; (608) 266-8551; (888) 534-0038
You can also contact DNR Staff regarding this matter as follows:
• Heidi Bunk – Southeastern Lakes Region
• Madison Johansen – Aquatic Plant Management, Water Quality Bureau
Thank you for your ongoing support to safely maintain the beauty and health of Okauchee Lake and the entire Oconomowoc River basin!
Starry Stonewort was found in Okauchee Lake in August, 2019. Since then the OLMD Board has been working to treat the areas near the bridge by Foolery’s and the near the boat launch at the Golden Mast. Please see the article titled “Starry Stonewort – What You Need To Know” on the “Reports” page to find out details about the treatment of these areas.
It is the OLMD policy regarding collection of aquatic plants from landowners that all plants for pick up MUST be placed on the end of the pier. This placement facilitates pick up, avoids damage to the hull of the barge on shoreline obstructions (i.e., rocks) and keeps employees safe while transferring plant material to the barge. In the event plants must be on the shoreline, they must be in one pile in a location allowing the employees to easily transfer the plants directly to the barge. Please note that adequate space is required between piers, boat-lifts, etc. to safely maneuver the barge to the pick-up point (20 feet minimum). If, in the opinion of the Lake Operations Supervisor (and after discussion with the riparian owner), these conditions are not met, the Commission’s policy is to refuse pick up of plant material until the above conditions have been met.
Plants will be picked up Monday through Friday (weather permitting). Please check the OLMD website home page (www.olmd.org) frequently to review the updated cutting schedule. OLMD strongly prefers plant piles directly on piers. In the event that a bin or receptacle is used, please drill drain holes in the bottom. Plants must be free of any trash, such as cans, tree limbs, leaves, etc., because the farmers who receive the plant material will not accept anything except plants. Thank you for your cooperation in meeting these requirements. If you have any questions, please call 262-966-0286.
At this time, the lake weeds have entered the dormant stage. The OLMD Board is continuing to work with the DNR to allow aggressive chemical treatment of Starry Stonewort and other lake weeds in the spring of 2020.
On September 27, 2019, the Okauchee Lake Management District application for chemical treatment of the aquatic invasive species, Starry Stonewort, found in two defined areas on the lake, was denied by DNR Senior Water Resources Management Specialist, Heidi Bunk. The letter of denial offered two substantive reasons for its position:
1. The Starry Stonewort populations at the bridge near Foolery’s and near the launch at the
Golden Mast are not currently presenting material obstruction to navigation.
2. The treatment proposed by OLMD was claimed not to have been shown effective to control
The Okauchee Lake Management Commission has asked for reconsideration of this decision. This is based on advice from our experts that the treatment proposed by OLMD, a combination of Cutrine Ultra-Hydrothol 191 has, indeed, been shown to be effective both locally and in studies conducted elsewhere. (Continued on the “Reports” page.)
Please continue to the “Reports” page and locate “Starry Stonewort Update – 10-10-19” to view the entire post and access links. Thank you!
Wondered what Starry Stonewort actually looks like and how to tell it from other native plants? Please visit the “Reports” page for picture identification and frequently asked questions regarding Starry Stonewort.
As those of you who went to the August 26, 2019 Okauchee Lake Management District Annual Meeting know, Starry Stonewort, an aggressive aquatic invasive species plant, has been identified in two small areas on the lake: near the bridge between the channel and Little Okauchee, and near the Golden Mast in the channel. At the Annual Meeting, Commissioners informed residents that aggressive action would be taken to eradicate Starry Stonewort and to keep it from spreading. If this invasive species is allowed to spread, it will aggressively out-compete other aquatic plants in Okauchee Lake and potentially choke off navigation lanes, particularly in shallow areas.
OLMD Commissioners have worked with Kathy Aron, a marine biologist at Aron & Associates, and Brian Suffern, of Marine Biochemists, the organization that chemically treated Okauchee Lake and many of the lakes in this area for decades, to identify and propose treatment options to the DNR. The first option was to treat the Starry Stonewort aggressively in the very small areas in which its been found. This first option included the use of chemicals not currently within the existing OLMD permit that are believed to have little or no effect on native plant life, but have been shown to be effective on the treatment of Starry Stonewort. The DNR lake biologist assigned to Okauchee Lake confirmed the populations of Starry Stonewort, concluded that chemical treatment on other lakes was not effective and further, suggested that the proposed chemical option might stress certain native species. Despite the DNR’s lake biologist admitting that it did not kill those other native species, the application for chemical treatment was denied.
OLMD consultant, Kathy Aron suggested that allowing the Starry Stonewort to continue, without treatment, would not result in it being outcompeted by other plant species as suggested by the DNR, based on her own experience with Starry Stonewort on Wind Lake. Further, since she was well acquainted with the treatment on Wind Lake, which the DNR said was ineffective, she recognized that the DNR that had delayed treatment from one year to the next, allowing Starry Stonewort to spread, and apparently the DNR has not recognized that had Wind Lake been able to use chemical treatment to control Starry Stonewort in two navigational channels, just as the OLMD wants to do, the results would be far better.
OLMD Commissioner Dennis Johnson, in charge of the OLMD Aquatic Plant Management Plan, has appealed this decision to deny use of chemical treatment for Starry Stonewort and has asked the DNR for reconsideration. In the meantime, the OLMD is attempting to reach out to Legislators and others to see if there is a more aggressive and promising solution than the “wait and see” attitude adopted by the DNR.
As you may already be aware, Starry Stonewort, an aggressive aquatic invasive plant, has recently been found in area lakes, including Okauchee Lake, Pewaukee Lake, and Lower Nemahbin. The stands of Starry Stonewort have been monitored and a series of surveys have begun in working toward finding the correct treatment option for the lakes. Identification information and survey/treatment options are included in the full announcement located on the Waukesha County AIS webpage at: www.waukeshacounty.gov/AIS.
Starry Stonewort is an aggressive aquatic invasive plant that forms dense mats of weeds and chokes out native species. It is spread by the “stars” that grow on the plant. Small fragments of the plant containing a starry bulbil can begin a new stand. These fragments can easily be tucked away in live wells, trailers and any water remaining on a watercraft as a boater moves from lake to lake. Please exercise caution and common sense in moving about the lake to avoid any treatment activity going on in the lake and upon removal of watercraft for the season. More information will be posted to this website as it becomes available. Detailed information about the Starry Stonewort plant is available on the “Reports” page.
At the August 26, 2019 Annual Meeting OLMD residents were made aware that two stands of the aquatic invasive species, Starry Stonewort, were found in Okauchee Lake. One stand is near the bridge by Foolery’s. A second stand was found near the boat launch at the Golden Mast. OLMD Commissioners took action to begin the required DNR permitting process to aggressively treat Starry Stonewort in the months to come. Please be aware of this situation and clean your boats, trailers and all watercraft upon exiting the lake for the winter season. If you see someone putting their boat in at the launch sites, please notify them that Starry Stonewort is present so that they can make an informed decision on whether to launch on the lake. More information will be posted to this website as it becomes available.
As you may be aware, Starry Stonewort, a macroalga invasive species, has been found in area lakes. The OLMD is asking for your help in keeping it out of Okauchee Lake. There are several things you can do to keep it out of Okauchee Lake waterways.
1) Please look for this invasive species in the lake. It can often be found near boat launch sites.
2) Please thoroughly inspect and clean your boat, watercrafts and trailer if you have been in Little Muskego Lake, Big Muskego Lake and Long Lake in Racine County recently.
3) Learn about Starry Stonewort. Public education and prevention is critical to keeping this plant out of Okauchee Lake!
Please visit the following link to the DNR website for identification information: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/invasives/fact/starrystonewort.html
Identification information on Starry Stonewort can also be found on the “Reports” page of this website. Contact the DNR or the OLMD if you believe you have spotted Starry Stonewort.