VIROQUA – As Vernon County prepares to spend $2 million in state and local funds to repair the dam and refill Jersey Valley Lake, conservation officials are working to prevent a repeat of the large-scale fish kill caused by manure runoff in 2005.
In early February of this year, the DNR received a complaint about excessive manure being spread on fields in the Jersey Valley watershed prior to a warming period.
Water samples confirmed that once again manure runoff to the lake was in amounts sufficient to kill fish. A water sample taken near the dam inlet revealed a biological oxygen demand (BOD) slightly higher than the level found in 2005 that resulted in no oxygen under the ice and the fish kill.
County conservationists and DNR biologists are working to ensure money invested in restoring the lake and fishery will be well spent and that a fully restored lake with a healthy fishery will be preserved for decades to come.
As part of this effort, land conservation staff from Vernon and Monroe counties will be visiting people in the Jersey Valley watershed in coming weeks to gather ideas on how to best manage manure so that this popular and regionally important lake is protected.
More information is available by contacting Cindy Koperski, DNR water quality biologist, at 608-785-9984 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other contacts are Kelly Jacobs, Vernon County Land Conservation, 608-637-5475, and Al Hoff, Monroe County Land Conservation, 608-369-8973.
“We need everyone’s ideas and everyone’s help to make this work,” Koperski said. “Our hope is that everyone joins us in finding ways to manage manure in the watershed that are beneficial to the soil and the crops and this beautiful lake that is so important to people around here.”