Waterway Management

Tichigan Lake

Every year the Waterford Waterway Management District works on several projects to protect the quality and usability of Tichigan Lake. One of the most important projects the WWMD heads up each year is the control, treatment, and removal of aquatic weeds with a special emphasis on invasive species such as Eurasian Water Milfoil in the lake. It is important to remember that the measures employed by the WWMD are designed to ensure that the lake remains navigable for all of the users of the lake, not to remove all of the weeds (which play an important role in the ecosystem) or to remove all of the weeds from sight. Further, based on limited resources and DNR regulations, the WWMD prioritizes weed control activities that will allow continuing navigation for use of the waterway. Weed control and removal is not oriented toward enhancing scenic beauty but rather to make sure the lake is not overrun by weeds thereby limiting access to the lake’s users. We are currently doing EVERYTHING the DNR will allow us to legally do to control the weeds. We are strictly limited to those areas and activities authorized by the DNR. We regularly reach out to the DNR to request any additional options and we are constantly researching alternative methods and we will continue to do so going forward. The following is a brief summary of the methods currently employed by the WWMD. Herbicidal Treatments are approved and permitted by the DNR based on the Lake Management plan developed by the lake management planning professionals at the consulting group of Onterra, LLC, DePere, Wisconsin, and implemented by the WWMD, and the DNR. This Tichigan Lake Management plan is legally required and is a result of extensive study and analysis of focused management of the Waterford waterway system. These treatments include early season EWM treatment, Navigational Lane Treatments, and other AIS treatments. Surveys are regularly conducted to monitor the growth of the weeds and the location of weeds and invasive species. These surveys tell us where we may have problems the following year with species like Eurasian Water Milfoil and Curly Leaf Pondweed. We can treat (with permit approval) larger areas early in the spring for these plants. Treatments later in the year are less effective and can produce large scale algae blooms as a direct result of the decaying biomass when treated too late. In addition to these early treatments, we follow up with Navigation Lane treatments throughout the season. These treatments are meant strictly to clear a 30′ wide path through areas of dense growth to the pier head of riparian owners allowing them access to open water. DASH is diver assisted suctioning. This technique is also permitted and approved by the DNR. As implied by the name it is the suctioning of weeds off the bottom on to boats where they are hauled off to a local farmers silo for compost. This process is slow and somewhat expensive but it does yield results that will last longer than one year as the weed and its root structure are often pulled up by the diver. Finally, the WWMD weed control planning also employs the use of a weed harvester. The harvester also abides by the plan set forth and approved by the DNR. There are restrictions on where the harvester can work due to the equipment they use. The harvester has cutters that work underwater and they can’t get into very shallow areas without damaging the equipment. The plan approved by the DNR allows the cutter to work in the main lake and they cut a path around the lake with “spokes” radiating outward from the main path toward shore allowing riparian owners to access open water. All of these processes are highly regulated and monitored by the DNR. There seems to be some confusion from riparian owners thinking that the WWMD decided where and when to employ these methods. The WWMD must abide by the DNR’s approved maps and permits and any changes from the current plan must be approved by the DNR. We have very little control over what we can do,; rather the WWMD exists to facilitate the control and removal of weeds but the DNR ultimately decides what the WWMD is allowed to do. As of now, we are doing everything we are legally allowed to do but we continue to look for ways to improve the riparian owners’ use of the waterway by exploring all available options and will continue to do so as we move into the future.