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.

Latest News

"Kiss the Ground," a Documentary

Published: November 17, 2021
"Kiss the Ground, a documentary about healthy soils, is a must see for anyone interested in heathy soils and global warming."
LK, LWQIA Board Member

A healthy soil means healthy plants and healthy plants means healthy humans. It is critical for our survival to maintain healthy soils.

Plowing healthy soils releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to global warming and increasing soil erosion. Plant biodiversity is critical to maintaining a healthy soil and healthy soil microorganisms.

Composting is a means of carbon capture and something we can do at home with a little planning.

Visit https://kissthegroundmovie.com/ to see the video. The website affords options for viewing it, including streaming on Netflix or renting for $1 from Vimeo.

Logo vector created by macrovector - www.freepik.com

Pipe Creek Watershed and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Published: September 25, 2021

The Pipe Creek Watershed in the northeast portion of Fond du Lac County has seen a significant amount of phosphorous runoff into Lake Winnebago over the last couple of years. Dairy farms account for 71% of the land usage in the watershed. This project, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is challenging two farmers, Chad Tasch and Dave Simon, to implement continuous no-till, cover crops, and low disturbance manure injection on 225 acres each for three years. These practices best reduce the risk of runoff and erosion, but they are new to this area and require experimentation and economic risk to accomplish the desired environmental outcomes. This project is done in collaboration with the Fond du Lac Land and Water Conservation Department, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, and Outagamie Land Conservation Department.

LWQIA's 2020 Agricultural Award Presented to Dale and Denise Theel of Greendale Farms

Published: September 1, 2021

The LAKE WINNEBAGO QUALITY IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION (LWQIA) presented the 2020 Mathias/Lesczynski Conservation Award at Breakfast on the Farm at LaClare Goat Farm on June 27. The award is named after long time employee of the Fond du Lac County Land Conservation department Lynn Mathias and ARCS conservationist Erv Lesczynski for their work with Fond du Lac County farmers to prevent soil erosion. The 2020 award was presented to Dale and Denise Theel of Greendale Farms of Fond du Lac. The award is for $1000.00.

Dale worked with his father for years before taking over ownership of the farm on his father's retirement in 1983. Currently he and Denise operate 650 acres of no-till corn, soybeans and winter wheat. When assuming management of the farm Dale realized the savings of soil and time they would make by no-till planting and by the early 1990's their operation was 100% no-till. Dale admits that the early years were a time of experiment and trust as there were few other farmers to ask questions of for guidance.

As part of their efforts to improve their land, the Theels started planting cover crops about 10 years ago and planting into the growing crop (known as planting green) about 7 years ago.

Over the years Dale has been involved in the community by serving as a Town Board member for the Town of Empire, serving on the USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee and now serving as the at-large member of the FDL County Land Conservation Committee, which he currently chairs. Dale has worked to start the FDL County Farmers for Healthy Soil and is a member of Between the Lakes farmers group helping to teach others from his experiences.

It was with pleasure that LWQIA presented the Mathias/Lesczynksi award to the Theels for their dedication to the improvement of our land and water.

Congratulations to Dale and Denise Theel!

Diverse Forages for Dairy Operations

Published: September 1, 2021

Josh Hiemstra was a 2020 recipient of the Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award. He did an interview on how he is using cover crops and soil health to add financial returns to his farm. See the full article here.

LWQIA brings Fish Tales to the AG Showcase

Published: March 7, 2021
candy wrap

Lake Winnebago Quality Improvement Association took part in a non-traditional AG Showcase amid the coronavirus pandemic. As an alternative to the traditional event, the Agri-Business Council decided to still educate the consumer through a bag full of educational materials, flyers, coupons, brochures, packaged food samples and agri-business swag.

LWQIA offered its own fish tale in the form of a handy informational piece that describes our organization and the work that we do throughout the community, especially honoring farmers that take extra measures to reduce nutrient runoff with the Mathias-Lesczynski Water Quality Award, all nicely wrapped around a box of Swedish Fish.

The 250 sampler bags were sold for $20 each. Monies raised through the promotion help to support agriculture education throughout Fond du Lac County. The council is looking to host the Ag Showcase on March 5, 2022.

Adopt-A-Storm Drain

Published: November 11, 2020
Adopt-A-Storm Drain

Mathias/Lesczynski Water Quality Award Winner

Published: Oct. 5, 2020

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

Published: August 6, 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

Published: August 6, 2020
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. UW-Oshkosh has received a grant through the National Science Foundation tying sociology and phosphorus levels.
  10. There is a new intern at the FWWA named Mason who may send out information.
  11. There are state grants to help shoreline property owners improve shoreline habitat.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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

Published: November 11, 2019

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

Published: November 11, 2019

Design by Renee George

Seeking Comments

Published: October 27, 2019

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.

Here is a direct link to the webpage: fwwa.org/lake-management-planning-2. The webpage can also be accessed by visiting fwwa.org/winnebago-waterways/ and following the links.

Please help us share the webpage widely. The more public awareness we can build the better.

Ongoing Projects

Lakeside Park West Garden

Published: May 10, 2014

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

Published: April 21, 2014
Clean Waters Project logo

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

Published: August 20, 2013

Chris Anderson and Matthew Dudarenke install a receptacle at Lakeside Park West.

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
Chris and Larry

Chris discusses the placement of labels with Larry Kent.

Eagle Scouts

Chris Anderson is joined by fellow Scouts to work on his Eagle Scout project, including (from left) John Fuchs, Matthew Dudarenke, Mike Fuchs, Jordon Friend, Kurt Weir, and Patrick Weir. The Scouts are from Troop 705 of North Fond du Lac.

Upcoming Meetings

LWQIA 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.

Further Reading