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Invader Crusader Award 2017


June 2017 – Letter to Board

August 2016 – DNR Letter

2017 Invader Crusader Award


The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council has awarded Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes along with the Barnes AIS Committee the 2017 Invader Crusader Award
This award is for outstanding volunteer efforts in the battle against invasive species. The award is given to a small number of people or organizations based upon their commitment to stopping the spread of invasive species through education, on-the-ground management and control, or research.
The Friends of the Eau Clarie Lakes Area  received this award because of the efforts of many of our members who volunteer at landings for Clean Boats Clean Waters (CBCW), and act as shoreline or water quality monitors. In addition our members and organization have provided funding for paid CBCW inspectors and for AIS clean-up efforts in the Eau Claire Lakes Area.
Our members and everyone in our organization is to be congratulated on this award.
Submitted by Fred Haueter

Pristine Waters –Now and into the Future

The Purpose of the Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area organization is to:
  “Protect, preserve & improve the environmental & esthetic quality of the Eau Claire Lakes Area Watershed including the lakes, rivers, shorelands, wetlands, forests, & attendant wildlife resources”.
One of the ways that we work toward that purpose is our longtime support both financially and the many hours of volunteer work done by so many of you the members of our organization.
Lee Wiesner has sent the following note to update all of us on the current activity that is occurring:
          Town of Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Committee Update
The Town of Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Committee had another very busy and productive year in 2016.  The committee coordinated and monitored the Clean Boats Clean Waters (CBCW) program at 5 boat landings on 5 separate lakes in 2016.  The paid and volunteer CBCW monitors logged in 2,112 hours, checked 3,729 boats for aquatic plants and animals and educated 9,128 boaters.  A grant application for the CBCW program was submitted by the committee for 2017 and was approved in full.  Tomahawk Lake was added to the 2017 CBCW grant.
The Shoreline Monitoring program coordinated by the AIS committee currently has 62 volunteers monitoring 27 lakes in the Barnes area for introductions of new invasive species. This group of volunteers logged in hundreds of hours in 2016.
Numerous volunteers invested over 450 hours of work to complete construction of the Barnes Aquatic Invasive Species Sucker (BAISS) boat. The BAISS boat will be used by the Town of Barnes to efficiently harvest invasive species from the town’s lakes, minimizing the chance of spreading the aquatic plants which can occur with improper handling. Few communities in the state of Wisconsin own this type of harvester; it will provide our residents with a resource to remove invasive species before they become widespread.
A very competitive Established Population Control Grant application for Tomahawk and Sand Bar Lakes was completed by the AIS committee during this past winter.  In April the Town of Barnes received the good news that the grant was awarded to the town in the amount of $62,785 which will help pay for the project cost of $92,331.  The town’s share will be $29,545 which will be funded primarily by donations and volunteer work-in-kind.  The goal of the committee is to treat both lakes this spring with a chemical to kill the Eurasian Water-milfoil and control any recurring with the BAISS boat in subsequent years.  This grant would not have been awarded to the Town of Barnes without the ten year history of the TOB AIS committee’s coordination of volunteers who performed lake surveys and monitored boat landings and shorelines. The efforts of committee members and citizens were critical in grant application ranking. Thank you to everyone who contributed and continues to contribute to the very important mission of maintaining our exceptional water clarity and keeping our lakes free of invasive species.
Grant extensions for George, Middle Eau Claire and Upper Eau Claire Lakes will be applied for this May.  All of the TOB grants require vigilant monitoring by the committee and detailed paperwork from the town clerk to ensure we accurately document our expenses and volunteer hours. As a result the town’s share of expenses is minimal or nothing. 
Plans for the 2017 season include CBCW monitoring on Upper Eau Claire, Middle Eau Claire, Lower Eau Claire, Robinson, Island and Tomahawk Lakes, the chemical treatment of EWMF this spring on Tomahawk and Sand Bar Lakes, use of the BAISS boat in June to harvest Curly-leaf Pondweed on Upper and Middle Eau Claire Lakes and shoreline monitoring for invasive species on area lakes.  We need more volunteers to help out on the BAISS boat, either as boat operators or divers.
Contact Sally Pease for questions about volunteering as a CBCW boat landing volunteer, (H) 715-795-2936, (C) 715-559-0614.  Lee Wiesner can be contacted for questions about volunteering as a shoreline monitor or on the BAISS boat, (H) 715-795-3156, (C) 715-922-0582.  If you not have the time to volunteer, please consider making a monetary, tax deductible donation to assist in the costs of fighting aquatic invasive species.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering for the CBCW boat landing monitoring contact Sally Pease at 715-795-2936 or 715-559-0614
Lee Wiesner, Town of Barnes AIS Committee Chair
We are appreciative of all this work and the support by each of you in working toward our purpose. Our waters are pristine, but not by accident but by the constant vigilance, support and efforts of so many.

Summer Storm by Ted Eastlund

The Deluge of July 11 Caused Widespread Damage to the Eau Claire Lakes Area

By Ted Eastlund

On the night of July 11, a severe rain storm struck the Eau Claire Lakes Area saturating woodlands, farms, lake properties and communities from Hayward to the Ashland area and Lake Superior overnight.

The next day we awakened to damage from 10 to 13 inches of rain that washed out roads, raised lake levels so high that docks and pontoon boats floated away, shorelines suffered and a man died near Cable. Contributing to the rainfall severity were rains that occurred some days before the torrential rainfall saturating the soils.

Rains this severe have not been experienced in a long time. Ron Kofal, a life-long resident of Gordon living near Lower Eau Claire Lake, has never seen the Eau Claire River this high. Highway 27 to Hayward from Barnes was closed due to water covering low areas and Highway 77 was closed between Hayward and Minong.

Bob Lang, Town of Barnes Road Foremen reported that the day after the deluge, several roads had washouts or water running over the road; including Denver Road, Tars Pond Road, Pease Road, James Road, Lower Lake Road, Pease Resort Road, and North Beaver Trail in Potawatomi.

There was a dramatic washout of part of Denver Road a mile or so south of Lower Eau Claire Lake and Cranberry Lake. The Ounce River, pronounced “oonz”,  runs close to the road a short distance from Cranberry Lake Road. Commonly after rains in the spring the Ounce spills over its bank and floods the woods draining through a culvert under the road  to the north side of the road into another woods and wetland downhill. What happened after the torrential rain of July 11 created more than that; a potentially lethal hazard.

Denver Road

Washout of Denver Road by an overflowing Ounce River creating a five feet deep rushing flood over the road. Photo by T. Eastlund

Lang reported that by the evening after the heavy rain, the water rushing over Denver Road had dropped “a couple of feet” but was still two feet deep.

I visited the Denver Road site a few days later and saw that trees and bushes on the side of the road had dried brown mud extending five feet high above road level, indicating that the water that had been rushing over the road days earlier was five feet deep where the Ounce River bends south very close to the road.  The accumulated logs and brush bent against woodland trees evidenced a very powerful, high velocity of flow. The five foot gush of water obviously surpassed the “too small” culvert’s capacity and flooded over the road, causing a crater on the south edge of the asphalt road, undermining it so that approximately 20% of the road’s width was missing asphalt for a stretch of maybe 20 to 40 feet.

Where the Ounce River is closest to the road and bends southward away from the road, there is a small un-named tributary entering via its own small culvert under Denver Road where some people trap mink. It is usually a barely trickling wooded channel. Post-deluge markings show it was a raging stream, several feet deep that undermined a tree that became up-rooted and fell across Denver road.

Trees on Denver Road

Trees cleared from Denver Road. Photo by T. Eastlund

Luckily no vehicles tried to pass through Denver Road when water was rushing over the road following the deluge. The site is a good example of how a flash flood can suddenly appear and potentially drown people who accidently or purposely drive into the water. It is also a lesson that culverts should be overbuilt and oversized to handle major rainfalls like this one.

Even more dramatic was the washout of a section of State Highway 63 just north of Grandview and Drummond. Luckily no car traveled on the site during the rain as it collapsed underfoot or ran over the edge of the precipice.

Washout north of Grandview


U.S. 63 at Matts Drive in the town of Grand View in Bayfield County was closed after the roadway washed out in both directions. Credit: Photo courtesy of Ready Wisconsin

The three dams of the three Eau Claire Lakes held back the water well.

Mooney Dam impounds water to form Lower Eau Claire Lake and rose at least 7 inches immediately after the heavy rain. According to Mark Schroeder, Douglas County Parks & Recreation Supervisor, on the day before the deluge of Jul 11, the lake level at the dam was at 1045.5 feet above sea level. The target, a DNR order, is for 1045.44 ft so it was an inch or so above target.
Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department staff measure lake levels at the dam daily and on July 12, the morning after the deluge, the level was 1046.1 ft (7.2 inches above target). A stop log was removed to let more water flow through the dam. That night it was likely higher than 7.2 inches since it takes a while to rise at the dam after a rain on our multi-lake lake chain.

The lake level was lowered an inch or so daily after that by removing stop logs one at a time, purposefully at a cautious, slow rate to prevent dangerous and damaging rises of the river downstream where levels were at record high already.

Schroeder stated that we were lucky that the heavy rain occurred this year instead of last year when Mooney Dam was being repaired. During repair work only half of the dam carried water while the other was blocked by a coffer dam to permit work replacing the lateral concrete abutment. Core sampling had shown that the lateral abutment contained crumbling concrete. Theoretically that could have weakened the dam sufficiently to result in major leaking or failure if the deluge had occurred last summer.
Surface drainage at the county park at Mooney Dam caused a deep gully where runoff flowed over the bluff into Eau Claire River.

Erosin at Mooney

A 6 to 8 feet deep erosion at Mooney Dam County Park at Lower Eau Claire Lake

due to rain surface runoff. Photo by T. Eastlund.

Many cabin dwellers reported various types of damage due to the high lake levels. At Upper Eau Claire Lake, Bob Cochrane estimated that the lake level rose approximately 8 to 10 inches and seemed to drop an inch a day on subsequent days. Bob Cochrane and Jim Bakken noted wood docks displaced and erosion of shorelines around the lake. Cris Neff reported that a pontoon broke from its mooring and floated across the lake.  Bob Cochrane noted that Upper was “murky” and that using the Secchi disc at the usual “deep hole” at the north end showed that water clarity was reduced from 20 feet to 14.5 feet.

Tom Krob estimated that Robinson Lake was 7 to 8 inches above normal. Carol Lebreck reported that Bony Lake levels were quite high with levels still at an estimated 4 to 5 inches above normal 10 days later.

Lake levels persisted at high levels 7 to 10 days later at several lakes, especially at Upper and Middle Eau Claire Lakes, where dams do not have stop logs to lower the lake levels. Because high speed motorboats can create high wakes that cause shoreline erosion, the Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes area issued a high water alert to boaters that “Minimizing your motorboat wake will help protect shorelines from erosion during these times”.

two Teens at Middle dam

Two teens swimming at Middle Lock and Dam on July 12. Note the high water level pouring over the gate to the lock. The level was many inches higher than usual at the actual dam. Photo by T. Eastlund

The deluge of July 11 resulted in a lot of damage and created potentially lethal flash floods and road closings. It brought attention to the future need of better preparedness.


Reducing Public Health Risks of Swine Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

Reducing Public Health Risks of Swine Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

Recommendations for Their Prevention and Management With Reference to a Proposed Bayfield County, Wisconsin, Facility

Please CLICK HERE for more information.