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.
Please be aware that Starry Stonewort treatment has begun at the Golden Mast site! Hooray! Please note the location of the treatment area near the Golden Mast on the map on the “Reports” page and avoid this area until the barrier curtain is removed possibly sometime next week. The picture shown on the “Reports” page clearly indicates the areas where Starry Stonewort was found in 2019. Please be aware that the 2020 chemical treatment area might be a bit smaller due to sampling and the DNR’s subsequent decision on where to treat. The picture also shows a stand of Starry Stonewort located near the bridge. This area is being left untreated at this time at the direction of the DNR. The Army Corp of Engineers has been working with the DNR and the OLMD to determine the correct “chemical cocktail” that will treat the Starry Stonewort stands in Okauchee Lake. The DNR has directed that the stand near the bridge will remain as a “control” area to determine impacts from the treatment in the area near the Golden Mast. More information will be available in upcoming weeks and months about the results of the treatment. As with many things this year, please remain positive and hope for a great outcome!
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.
Arnold Groehler, Animal Damage Control Trapper, started trapping at the beginning of April and will continue into mid-May. Should you see muskrat activity along your shoreline and want them removed, contact Arnold Groehler directly (262-490-9363 email@example.com). Any OLMD residents with an active muskrat burrow should place a flag near the burrow on their property so he can easily identify the burrows as he navigates the lake. If permission was granted for past Muskrat Control programs, a new permission form IS NOT required. If you are new to the program, forms granting permission to access your shoreline can be found on the “Forms” page of this website. Thank you!
Recently a boat washed up on shore near the OLMD Weed Cutting facility. If you think this boat might belong to you, please call the OLMD office at 262-966-0286 and ask for Gary. Please be prepared to provide description.