FOECLA Awarded 2021 DNR Healthy Lakes & Rivers Grant

Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area (FOECLA) has been awarded a 2021 Healthy Lakes & Rivers ( grant from the Wisconsin DNR. The purpose of this grant program is “to protect and restore the health of our lakes and rivers by increasing property owner participation in habitat restoration and runoff and erosion control projects.”

FOECLA will receive $13,000 to support 13 projects on Upper, Middle and Lower Eau Claire lakes undertaken by property owners. These projects will include fish sticks, shoreline native plantings, rain gardens and other runoff diversions.

Thank you to the DNR and to the property owners installing these projects. We all win when we work together to protect and preserve our lakes!

FOECLA Awards 3rd Annual Student Scholarship

Congratulations to Kayla Schultz, the first student from Northwood High School to be awarded the Friends of the Eau Claire Lakes Area Student Scholarship! Our $1,000 scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors who plan to pursue degrees that support our mission “to protect, preserve and improve the environmental and aesthetic qualities of the Eau Claire Lakes Area watershed, including the lakes, rivers, shorelands, wetlands, forests and attendant wildlife resources.” Kayla will be attending UW-Eau Claire in the fall, majoring in Education. She plans to use the “outside” (the environment) as a major focus in helping create positive habits in young children regarding relationships with the environment.

Kayla was Team Captain for several athletic teams, served as Class President and her grade point average ranked third in her class. Scholarship Committee Chair Marty Olson said, “We were very pleased to receive several very outstanding candidates for the scholarship and most excited to award it to Kayla, a very deserving senior at Northwood High School.”

A Day on the Water with the BAISS Boat Crew

The Town of Barnes BAISS boat crew harvested curly-leaf pondweed (CLP) on June 23 as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of this aquatic invasive. Two divers joined the boat operator for six hours on Upper Eau Claire Lake. In addition to “bagging” a lot of CLP, the crew noted the presence of another aquatic invasive, the Chinese Mystery Snail.  They capped off their day with a sighting of a loon parent with a new chick riding on its back. For a glimpse of a day on the water with the BAISS boat crew, click here.

South Shore Road Bridge Replacement

A video describing the South Shore Road bridge replacement scheduled for Summer 2022 is available on the Town of Barnes website. In the video, Cooper Engineering Project Manager Jacob Friberg describes the project in detail. Originally built in 1938, the bridge roadway over the Middle Eau Claire Lake dam and lock will be slightly widened to meet today’s minimum 24-foot standard width. Solicited bids will include a decorative railing to replace the existing chain link, and a wider sidewalk underneath the bridge along the lock. No work in the waterway will take place; the lock and dam will be untouched during the construction. It is hoped the construction, which will take 2-3 months, will have minimal or no impact on the 2022 Vatten Paddlar. Racers may be required to portage if construction is underway. Eighty percent of the project cost is being funded by the State’s Local Bridge Improvement Assistance Program; the remaining twenty percent is being paid by the Town of Barnes.

White Hummingbird Visits Sweet Lake

White Hummingbird 8/26/20 (Credit: Thom Storm)

A white hummingbird was seen on Sweet Lake on August 26. While it moved too quickly to get a good look at it, it’s more likely it was a leucistic hummingbird than a true albino. True albinos have pink eyes, while leucistic hummingbirds have black eyes, bills and feet. Whichever it was, it provided the homeowners with a wonderful surprise as it lingered for hours, enjoying the impatiens blooming on their deck.

Northwest Cleansweep – Protect Our Lakes and Groundwater

Septic tanks can’t treat everything, so don’t pour hazardous waste such as paints, solvents, pesticides, antifreeze, and hazardous cleaners down the drain or flush old medications down the toilet.  Wastewater eventually makes its way to your drainfield and joins groundwater traveling towards surface waters.  Protect our precious lakes and rivers by properly disposing of hazardous household waste at one of nine collection events starting on August 5 in Douglas County.

Playful River Otters in Upper Eau Claire Lake

A friend sent in this photo from a video he made of 4 river otters playing in Upper Eau Claire Lake one recent morning. He said he hadn’t seen river otters for a long time and it was fun to see them swimming past his pier.

In Wisconsin, river otters are generally found in the northern portion of the state. They can live 10-15 years and adults average 20 pounds in weight. They’re very playful – in the summer, they jump in and out of the water and chase each other, and in the winter, they like to push off with their feet and slide across the snow. River otters can dive to depths of 40 feet and are able to stay underwater for 4 minutes or more, so don’t worry if you see them disappear for a while!

River otters in Upper Eau Claire Lake, 8/3/2020. (Credit: Bill Pearce)

USDA Issues Warning Regarding Unsolicited Seeds Mailed from China

Jill Jacoby, Douglas County AIS Coordinator, reports there have been people in our area who have received unsolicited mailings from China containing seeds. Residents in all 50 states have received these mailings and USDA officials are advising people to not plant the seeds, which are unknown and could be invasive species or be harmful to people or livestock. The USDA Farm Service Agency issued a bulletin (click here) advising people what to do if they receive one of these mailings. People with questions can also call the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) 844-820-2234 (Monday-Friday – 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET).

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