GREEN BAY -- Lake lovers can hear national experts report on how Wisconsin lakes stack up to other lakes around the country, and get in-depth, hands-on instruction in how to safeguard healthy lakes at the 32nd annual Wisconsin Lakes Convention in Green Bay March 30-April 1.
“We used to look at the center of the lake and judge the whole lake on the quality of the center water,” says Jeff Bode, longtime leader of Department of Natural Resources lakes program, one of the sponsors of the convention.
“We pretty much ignored the shallow water and shoreline. What we’ve come to recognize, and what national study showed, is that both water quality and condition are driven by what happens on the shoreline and shallow water areas of the lake.”
The National Lakes Assessment, a multi-year study that looked at hundreds of lakes nationwide, including about two dozen in Wisconsin, found that 56 percent of lakes nationally were healthy. The leading stressor is poor lakeshore habitat, and such habitat was rated poor in 36 percent of lakes.
Neil Kamman, an environmental scientist with Vermont’s Lakes and Ponds Management Program, will talk about the study and what the results mean for state and national management of lakes.
Convention attendees can select from 15 workshops and participate in any of more than 90 sessions built around lake themes, many of which concentrate on shallow water areas and next to the water.
For example, there will be sessions explaining the new state law banning phosphorus fertilizers for residential use, and a session on organic and low-maintenance options for lawn care. Robert Kirschner, Director of Restoration Ecology at the Chicago Botanic Garden, will talk about native plants that can anchor shorelines against erosion and provide an appealing landscape.
“The Wisconsin Lakes Convention marks the start of the spring season and the learning, sharing and plain hard work that goes into keeping our wonderful lakes safe and sound,” says Bob Korth, longtime lake team leader for UW-Extension in Stevens Point. “Folks claim that more can be learned about lakes at the convention in just a few days than could be gathered with weeks of emails and phone calls.”
The convention is sponsored by the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, a nationally recognized and successful collaboration of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes, DNR, and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.
Participants can attend, and pay for, all three days or individual days. For full convention details, including online registration and printable registration forms, go to UW-Extensions Lakes Convention Web site at http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr/uwexlakes/conventions/