The Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association is a non-profit organization striving to improve the water quality of Lake Winnebago, for the betterment of the lake's natural habitat as well as for public recreational use.
Our association takes action on lake quality issues through education, communication, and social fund raising meetings for members and guests, and promotes cooperation among governmental units, interested organizations, and the public.
Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award Winner
Robert and Josh Hiemstra of Brandon were the recipients of the annual Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award for 2020. The Hiemstra’s have been growing cover crops on their family’s dairy farm for over a decade.
Cover crops are gaining popularity among farmers and landowners thanks to the many benefits that can be achieved. These include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies improving water quality, increased soil organic matter, improved soil health, reduced soil erosion and expanded grazing and forage acres.
The Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award recognizes farm management practices that help protect surface water from runoff of sediments, nutrients and chemicals into rivers, streams and especially Lake Winnebago.
In the accompanying video, the Hiemstras show us how they utilize cover-crops to extend their forage inventory and improve soil health and fertility.
LWQIA Yearly Report 2019-2020
Maintain Lakeside West Native Garden Display. We currently are in contact with the city for additional signage.
Maintain Fish line Receptacles at various boat launches throughout Fond du Lac County. One receptacle was hit by a lawnmower. Larry will check about adding a post to reattach it.
Created and posted on our website the “Lake Friendly Lawn Care” brochure.
Participated in the city’s kick-off of the “Adopt-A-Storm Drain” initiative that was held at the library.
Helped sponsor and set up an informative table at the Winnebago Park meeting on water quality on the east shore of Lake Winnebago. 122 were in attendance.
Supplied letter in support of the Pipe Creek watershed grants application.
LWQIA Board member, Alan Weir, continues to be a member of the Steering Team of the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance. County representatives, area non-profits, and community members work together on the Steering Team to set the strategic direction for project initiatives and to ensure progress in efforts such as lake management planning in the Winnebago System.
Participated in public educational events. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 the majority of the activities had been canceled. We did have a booth at the Agricultural Showcase on March 4 and promoted Adopt-A-Storm Drain.
Awarded a farm with the Mathias-Lesczynski Water Quality Award. We are still working on the new recipient’s acceptance of the award. A plaque was created with past winners. Because of COVID-19, we have not been able to officially hang the plaque or have any photo opportunities.
Support and assist in sponsoring field days for the Fond du Lac County Demonstration Farm Network, of which three farms in the county are partnering.
Members of LWQIA toured the Fond du Lac Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery Facility (WTRRF) and were able to see the ANAMMOX® process, a cost-effective and sustainable way of removing ammonium from effluents and ammonia from waste gas.
Alan Weir, LWQIA Board Member, Report on Winnebago Waterways and Volunteer Opportunities
- The Lake Management has been through its first round of approval through the WI DNR. The public comment period ended on 31 July. Once those are added to the plan, it will go for final approval at the DNR.
- Once the TMDL plan is approved by the EPA and WI DNR sends out requirements, point sources (like our water treatment plant) will have 5 years to comply with any new requirements for discharge water quality.
- There is a 9 key elements plan related to the lake management plan that is being completed separately. This second document will go to the EPA. It contains more information than needed in the LMP. It is separate so that the LMP could go forward sooner. I am not sure how this relates to the TMDL plan. By getting a 9 key element plan completed, more federal level grants become available.
- FWWA enlisted the help of congressman Gallagher (district 8, north of us) to lobby the Army Corps to complete a hydrology study of the watershed. More for flood control, but should also be applicable to improving water quality.
- The DNR was unable to staff its long-term water quality sampling study this year. The FWWA is providing the manpower to do the sampling, the DNR is paying for the lab work.
- Paul Tollard said we have two grants for the Pipe Creek area. There are 2 farms working over the next 3 years to implement no till and cover crops and be demonstration farms. This incorporates 450 acres of farmland.
- The spring Lake Winnebago water levels were above target. It has been difficult for the Corps of Engineers to meet water levels during spring runoff.
- There is an aquatic plant study being conducted in Sunset Bay of Lake Buttes des Morts. They have large numbers of plants that can impede navigation. The results of this study can be applied in other areas of the Lake that have heavy plant growth.
- UW-Oshkosh has received a grant through the National Science Foundation tying sociology and phosphorus levels.
- There is a new intern at the FWWA named Mason who may send out information.
- There are state grants to help shoreline property owners improve shoreline habitat.
- The steering committee has three members-at-large positions that will become annual positions that may be renewed. There are two openings this year. I think it has been valuable for the LWQIA to have a member on that committee and we should continue having representation with the FWWA.
- August 15 is the date for the Aquatic Invasives Species Snapshot Day. Registration and information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/snapshot-day-2020-a-statewide-search-for-aquatic-invasive-species-registration-110667056144?emci=5089d640-1bcd-ea11-9b05-00155d03bda0&emdi=c82aed8f-b3cd-ea11-9b05-00155d03bda0&ceid=9116178
- August 22 is Clean-up Day for Lake Winnebago. Information can be found at https://secure.qgiv.com/event/fwap2p/. There are two locations for Fond du Lac, Lakeside Park and Lakeside Park West.
FDL Adopt a Storm Drain Program
LWQIA is helping to promote the City of Fond du Lac's new "Adopt a Storm Drain" program. The program will help reduce harmful runoff into Lake Winnebago.
2019 Lawn Care Brochure
Design by Renee George
The Winnebago Waterways program is seeking comments on drafts for the master plan being developed for the Lake Winnebago system. The working drafts that are nearing their final stage are now available for the public to access, review, and comment online. The webpage will be updated with new documents as they become available.
Please help us share the webpage widely. The more public awareness we can build the better.
These images were taken at the very well-attended Winnebago Park event on runoff that LWQIA helped sponsor.
LWQIA and its Clean Waters Project staffed a booth at the September 28th Fond du Lac Farmers Market
May 2019 News and Reminders
One of our LWQIA Board members saw an interesting article about Dane County and farm runoff in the Sheboygan Press. Dane County is running a pilot program that pays farmers to plant cover crops. The article refers to information reported on Wisconsin Public Radio that was picked up by the Associated Press. View the article at: https://www.wpr.org/pilot-program-dane-county-gives-aid-farmers-curbs-runoff
Lakeside Park West Garden
One of the Lake Winnebago Clean Waters Project's efforts is the creation of a native plant demonstration garden in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park West. For information on the garden and to volunteer to help, visit www.lakesidewestgarden.com.
For information on a variety of actions to help stop polluted runoff, visit http://www.lakewinnebagocleanwatersproject.org.
Lake Winnebago Clean Waters Project
In the fall of 2013, the Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association of Fond du Lac County (LWQIA) initiated a Fond du Lac area-wide campaign to reduce harmful runoff into Lake Winnebago.
View the Clean Waters Project page for more information.
New Receptacles Help Fishermen Recycle Unwanted Line
People fishing on Lake Winnebago now have an easy way to dispose of old or unwanted fishing line. Ten fish line receptacles have been placed around the southern end of the lake in an effort to keep the lake clean and safe for wildlife and people using it.
Chris Anderson designed the receptacles from PVC pipe donated by JF Ahern as part of his Eagle Scout project. Fellow scouts from Troop 705 of North Fond du Lac helped with the construction and installation. The project was sponsored by the Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association.
Fishing line, or monofilament, is typically non-degradable and lasts about 600 years. Abandoned fishing line injures or kills fish, birds and other wildlife.
Collection bins are located at the following launch sites:
- Black Wolf
- Hwy 45 Wayside
- (3) at Lakeside Park West (Supple Marsh)
- (2) at Lakeside Park East
- Columbia Park in Calumet
- Fisherman's Road in Taycheedah
- Wolf Lake
LWQIA 2017 Board Meetings
All Board meetings are at 7 PM on the first Wednesday of each month in the EOC (Emergency Operating Center) in the basement of the Fond du Lac City/County Building. The public is invited to attend.
View past articles.