PAST VOLUNTEERS HONORED
The Oneida County Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) has recognized the Three Lakes Waterfront Association on many occasions as being at the forefront of the fight against Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Certain volunteers from TLWA have been singled out by Oneida County as having gone beyond the call and donated hundreds of hours to this program. The most recent volunteers honored are Rick Pyle, Dan Mueller and Bruce Renquist. We thank these and all the volunteers who keep this important program vibrant.
For photos and more information, please visit News of the North.
The Three Lakes Waterfront Association began a program of monitoring various landings on the Three Lakes chain of lakes, Clean Boats, Clean Waters, in the summer of 2005. The program consists of a core of dedicated volunteers who check for unwanted lake dwelling species being transported to our area by boats. In 2006, the program expanded to include the Adopt-a-Shoreline program. Both programs have been quite successful, thanks to the wonderful efforts of the volunteers. To ensure the ongoing success and expansion of these programs, we invite you to join the ranks and help prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species in Three Lakes waters.
If you can spare just a few hours of your time, please complete the Volunteer Application now!
Article reprinted with permission from the Three Lakes News
January 22, 2008
Army of people inspected boats to prevent AIS
Vilas volunteers spent 3,364 hours at landings
By Kurt Krueger
Nearly 15% of the 30,800 boat inspections that occurred in Wisconsin under the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program in 2007 were done in Vilas County, state records show. It is an army of volunteer inspectors that keeps the preventive water quality program going here, evidenced by the 3,364 hours that were logged by volunteers in Vilas during the year. The purpose of the program is to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as Eurasian water milfoil, an aggressive weed that can replace native species and that often develops a thick mat on the surface that impedes water recreation.
Statewide, more than 17,950 hours were spent conducting watercraft inspections including 6,249 hours by volunteers. Oneida County recorded 3,201 hours of time spent at the landings.
Ted Ritter, AIS coordinator in Vilas, said the inspector training system has advanced to the point where hundreds of new volunteers are being certified without the direct assistance of the county or the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“We now have certified instructors on town lakes committees who are training their own volunteers,” said Ritter. “The outgrowth of that is that we’ve got hundreds if not more than 1,000 volunteers who are certified to inspect boats.”
Some amazing statistics have resulted from the work of inspectors who file their information with the DNR’s database, from the type of boats and motors that are being launched to whether the boats and trailers contained weeds or were last used in infested waters. The 2007 Watercraft Inspection Summary shows that in Vilas, nearly one out of every four boats (23%) inspected were last used in an infested waterbody.
“That is absolutely a scary figure,” said Ritter. “But it shouldn’t be surprising, considering that there are about 160 lakes in the county with boat landings, and that at least 20 of the lakes have infestations of Eurasian water milfoil.”
Ritter said the county might have 1,300 lakes, but the vast majority doesn’t have boat landings that make the spread of invasive species more likely. He said it is probably no coincidence that some of the most popular fishing and boating lakes in the county are among those infested with invasive milfoil.
“Among the lakes on the milfoil list are the Eagle River Chain, Big Sand, Long and North-South Twin,” said Ritter.
The report shows that the vast majority of the boats inspected, 66%, were fishing boats, while pleasure boats accounted for 16%, pontoon boats 9% and personal watercraft, 7%. Ritter said he’s amazed at the ever-increasing size of the motors on those boats. Of 4,448 boats that were inspected in Vilas during 2007, one-third had motors of 100 horsepower or larger. And 15% had motors that were 150 horsepower or larger.
On the vegetation side of the equation, inspectors in Vilas found 6% of the boats were poised to enter the water with weeds on the boat or trailer, and 10% of the boats left the water with weeds attached. Inspectors report that 94% of the boat owners were aware of the vegetation transport law, but that 91% actually took steps to prevent the spread of AIS. Vilas County inspectors contacted 10,016 of the 64,336 people who were contacted about the Clean Boats, Clean Waters message last year, the report showed. They found 84% of the license plates were from Wisconsin, and 16% were from outside the state. The “illegal to launch” law prohibits boat owners from launching any boat if the boat, trailer or motor contain aquatic vegetation.
“The number of boats entering the water and leaving the landing with plants or animals attached continues to steadily decrease,” say DNR officials.
Of the boaters contacted by inspectors last year, 90% said they were aware of the illegal launch law, up from the 84% who gave a positive response in 2006. Officials say that figure was 68% in 2005 and just 21% in 2004. Statewide, 44% of the boats inspected had previously been in a water body with invasives present.
“Kudos to the boat inspectors who are collecting the data and making this information available to us,” said Ritter, “especially the volunteers.”
Figures compiled strictly for Oneida County show that 6,989 boats were inspected during 2007 and that inspectors came in contact with 14,584 people. The summary states that 34% of the boats were last used in an infested waterbody, and that 11% of the boat owners had not taken prevention steps.
Oneida officials found that 93% of the vehicles had Wisconsin license plates, and that 69% of the boats were used for fishing. They found that 41% of the boats had motors of 100 horsepower or larger. Like Vilas, 6% of the boats inspected in Oneida were poised to enter the water with vegetation on the boat, motor or trailer. They said 11% of the boats left the landing with vegetation attached.
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