Dane County Seeks Public Comment On Aquatic Plant Management Plans


Deadlines for public comments on 2013 plan updates range from December 12, 2013 to May 27, 2014.

Deadline dates vary by the water body concerned

Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission has just issued its final two sets of draft aquatic plant management plans and at the same time has requested public comment on these latest plans.

The first set of  plans is for the Jenny and Kyle Preserve Ponds, Vilas, Tenney, and Warner Park lagoons, and the Verona Quarry;  the second set of plans are for Fish, Crystal, and Indian Lakes.   You can reach the plans by clicking here, and then navigating to the appropriate link on the page that pops up.  The deadline for submitting public comments on these two plans is December 12, 2013.  Comments may be submitted to lakes@countyofdane.com

These plans and public input received will be presented to the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission at its December 12 meeting.  The other six plan amendments will also be presented to the Commission for approval at that meeting.

Why Are Aquatic Plant Management Plans Important?

The Lakes and Watershed Commission reminds us that:

“Aquatic plant management plans are important because they summarize the status of aquatic plant communities in these waters, and guide aquatic plant mechanical harvesting that Dane County staff may conduct in these waters.”

Native waterlilies growing in the "near shore" environment of Lake Wingra.

Native waterlilies growing in the “near shore” environment of Lake Wingra.

Aquatic plant management plans (APMP)  also summarize the ecological health of the lakes, and describe methods for meeting the needs of the variety of the sometimes competing recreational uses (including boating, fishing, swimming, bird watching, and natural history enjoyment) that our lakes provide.

Comments Also Sought on Updated Plans for Lakes Wingra, Mendota, and Monona

Revisions to the original 2007 plans for these lakes, plus Lake Waubesa, Kegonsa/Lower Mud Lake, and the Yahara River/Upper Mud Lake are also ready for public comment.  The revised plans can be downloaded here.

Comments for the Lake Wingra and Lake Kegonsa updates are due May 15, 2014.  Public input for Lakes Mendota, Monona, and Waubesa are due May 24, 2014; comments on the Yahara River/Upper Mud Lake aquatic plant management plans (APMP) are due May 27, 2014.

Why Is In an Aquatic Plant Management Plan?

Aquatic plants are essential for a fully functioning lake ecosystem.  They provide cover, habitat and food for fish and other creatures that live in the lake.  Some aquatic plants such as Eurasian water milfoil–the primary target of weed harvesting–is super aggressive and clogs waterways, making fishing, swimming, and boating difficult and unpleasant.

In the language of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission:  “Aquatic plant management plans provide an inventory of existing plants in a lake or stream, and describe how native plants will be protected for their role as the foundation of healthy ecosystems, while nuisance non-native species will be controlled and recreational access will be provided. These plans are required by the Department of Natural Resources in order for them to permit aquatic plant harvesting programs under NR 109 Wis. Admin. Code.”

In more familiar terms, the APM plans do not describe lake restoration goals and methods,  but rather only address vegetation management goals.  These APM goals are expressed in terms of desirable plants (usually natives) that the managers want to encourage; and weeds that managers want to contain or eradicate.

The  APM plans list the frequency of occurrence, abundance and distribution of both desirable plant species and nuisance species.  The aquatic plant management plans have maps that show the general locations in the lakes where various plant species grow, and describe strategies and tactics for how the plants will  be favored, or, in the case of weeds,  harvested and removed by aquatic weed cutters.

To Learn More

Go to the website of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission by clicking here.   At this site you will find more details about the aquatic plant management program and links to supplemental information on: 1) a field guide to aquatic plants; 2) a discussion about the roles of aquatic plants in lakes; 3) the WIDNR’s aquatic plant management program; and 4) an aquatic plant guide from the Minnesota DNR.

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About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist practicing and writing in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Aquatic plant management plans, Dane County lakes, Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission, Lake Wingra, Madison lakes and beaches and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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