WWMD Response to 2014 Riparian Survey
We are pleased that 73% of respondents are aware of ongoing public information meetings and that they will have a vote on the Eco-System Restoration (ESR) Project. Three major areas of concern were emphasized by the riparian owners: treatment of aquatic plant growth (weeds), Eco-System Restoration Project (dredging) cost and effectiveness, and prevention of storm water runoff.
Aquatic Plant Growth
Aquatic plant growth throughout the waterway is either invasive or native. The Aquatic Plant Management Committee directs its efforts in four areas:
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
Each season the waterway is surveyed to evaluate for AIS, since the WDNR will only allow treatment in localized areas. Previously the survey points were concentrated in Tichigan Lake, but in 2012 and 2013 season other areas of the waterway were surveyed and a large additional amount of invasive plant growth was documented. AIS have been reduced in Tichigan Lake but currently a total of 200 acres of the 1100 acre waterway are being treated.
Aquatic plant growth which is native to the waterway can severely impact watercraft access. Previously the WDNR limited the use of herbicides which required multiple applications. For the last 2 seasons newer and more expensive herbicides which require one application have been approved. In shallow bays the effectiveness of herbicides is limited since plant growth is more rapid with abundant available nutrients.
In 2014 a trial of harvesting will occur in Buena Lake and a trial of weed pulling will occur in Island View Bay. The cost effectiveness and recurrence of plant growth will be evaluated. A new mechanical option known as “weed sucking” is also to be evaluated this season. Riparian owners may rake weeds along their shore and pier; they may also pull lily pads in that area. WWMD treats plant growth only to the end of your pier.
Once invasive species invade a waterway, they are difficult to eradicate and control their growth. In 2013 we initiated the Clean Boats/Clean Water (CB/CW) program to halt transportation of AIS from between waterways. This program will continue with addition of a Citizens Lake Monitoring Network (CLMN) which will collect information for the WDNR regarding water quality.
The above projects are funded by WWMD’s annual budget. A grant from WDNR which took 2 years to complete is pending a decision.
Eco-System Restoration (ESR)
The amount of silt in our waterway increased with the flooding in 2008. WWMD is in the process of obtaining permits from the WDNR for silt removal to improve navigation throughout the waterway. The total cost of the project is a major concern for our District. Hydraulic dredging is the most efficient method especially if dewatering sites to accept the material are close to the mechanical equipment. Our silt is free from toxic materials and a good source of top soil.
We have a range of preliminary estimates from 5 million to 25 million dollars for the ESR project. The actual cost depends on the dredging method, availability of dewatering sites, and distance material is pumped or transported. Actual bids from contractors will be obtained after permitting from the WDNR determines how and where to dredge, and how to manage the silt. Obtaining grant funding requires cost estimate and knowledge of above information.
Dr. Jeff Thornton, formerly with Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission estimated 22+ years before dredging would need to be redone. Dr. Andres Peekna (Innovative Mechanics, Inc., and currently a Commissioner) estimated that it would be about 30 years.
If we do not dredge, Dr. Peekna estimates that in 20 years the muck level will increase by one foot ( 0.6 inches per year) and will severely limit use of motorized watercraft.
Storm Water Runoff
WWMD proposed a Storm Water and Erosion Control Ordinance which was adopted by the Town of Waterford. A rain garden program which offers $500 to riparian owners is available to WWMD approved rain gardens in the District. The Special Projects tab lists 25 sites for reducing storm water runoff with a map and a status report for each site, some of which are active. In addition, The Fox River commission (FRC) which is funded by the state, has funded multiple runoff reduction projects to WWMD and upstream. Please check out the completed projects section on their web site www.sewfrc.org.
The WWMD Commissioners and Volunteers have pursued a significant number of activities with important accomplishments since 2003. Much more needs to be completed to improve the quality of the Fox River/Tichigan Lake watershed. Our survey has documented major concerns regarding the waterway which need to be shared with our local, county, state, and federal governing organizations in order to maintain and improve the economic viability of Waterford and the surrounding region.
WWMD Marketing Committee