COVID-19 UPDATE: the Oneida County Courthouse and the Oneida County Land and Water Conservation Department are open during normal business hours. Please set-up an appointment so we know when to expect you! Thank you for your patience, cooperation, and understanding. Updated 6/10/20 RC
What’s Doin’ the Bloomin’ in Oneida County?
Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus)
Do you have this pretty yellow plant on your property? If so, it is very invasive! Yellow iris is an aggressive perennial aquatic invasive species that is a threat to the integrity and function of wetlands, shorelines, and roadside ecosystems. To learn how to identify, remove, and manage yellow iris, please click here: Yellow Iris Fact Sheet
Our new Yellow Iris Fact Sheet includes a description, pictures, ecological impacts, removal techniques, and reporting information. Great for educating boaters, new CBCW inspectors or lake monitors!
Help Protect the Lakes You Love
Oneida County has one of the highest concentrations of freshwater lakes in the world! With over 1,129 lakes and rivers covering 10% of the county, our lifestyle and economy are heavily dependent on healthy lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands!
Unfortunately, Oneida County has 170 waterbodies that contain at least one aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as Eurasian water milfoil or rusty crayfish, These AIS have likely found their way into our waters through unclean watercrafts, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, boat trailers, fishing gear, inflatable water toys, hunting and trapping gear, inappropriate disposal of bait and aquarium species, and/or migration through connected waterways. Some of these AIS have the potential to change, or have already changed, the biodiversity of our lakes, rivers, streams (including trout streams), marshes, wetlands, ephemeral ponds, and have affected our fisheries, limited recreational activities, and impacted our local economy.
The good news is that everyone can help prevent the spread of AIS! Whether you are a boater, angler, paddler, seaplane pilot, water gardener/pond owner, nursery owner, aquarium enthusiast, lake management professional, or even a teacher, you have a very important role to play in keeping Wisconsin’s lakes free of AIS. Every time you follow the required prevention steps of INSPECT, REMOVE, DRAIN, AND NEVER MOVE, you are empowering yourself to prevent the spread of AIS and helping to protect our beautiful, treasured, and valuable water resources for generations to come!
It isn’t every day that someone has the ability to look underneath their dock, boat lift, swimming raft, and water irrigation hoses to see what is happening on their structure. That rare opportunity will present itself this autumn as lake residents, resort owners, lake service providers, marinas, and other water-related contractors start to remove equipment from the water.
Why would anyone want to look at the bottom of a pier?
Any type of equipment installed in a lake can provide an excellent home for aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as quagga and zebra mussels to attach themselves to and colonize. It’s difficult to thoroughly inspect a structure while it’s in the water; however, during removal anyone involved with the process can easily monitor for invasive species. Early detection of AIS is an important step in protecting Oneida County’s water resources.
AIS are non-native plants and animals that threaten Wisconsin’s waters by causing environmental and economic harm. One example, zebra mussels, can clog water intakes and pipes, encrust piers, boats and motors, and their sharp shells can cut the feet of swimmers. Thus far, zebra mussels have NOT been confirmed in any waters within Oneida County. However, they have invaded 273 of Wisconsin’s waterbodies including Crandon’s Lake Metonga (Forest County), and the threat of anglers and boaters transporting this invasive species into the county is very real!
To protect Oneida County’s lakes and rivers, it’s important for waterfront property owners and water-related contractors to examine everything coming out of the water and remove anything that shouldn’t be attached. This includes checking all areas of watercrafts, docks, piers, boat lifts, swimming rafts, inflatables, water toys, irrigation systems, and any other equipment that has been in the water for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, check all support posts, beams, cables, wheels, bunks, pads, ropes, chains, and filters. In addition to a visual inspection, feel smooth surfaces of equipment to check for juvenile zebra mussels as they may have a “sand-paper like” feel and are often invisible to the human eye.
How to Help
There are also specific laws that everyone must follow to prevent the spread of AIS. Prior to transporting any equipment away from a water access site or other shoreland property and entering a roadway open to the public, Wisconsin law requires you to:
- INSPECT boats, trailers, boat lifts, piers, rafts and equipment.
- REMOVE all attached aquatic plants, animals, sand, and mud.
- DRAIN all water from boats, motors, vehicles, and equipment.
- NEVER MOVE plants or live fish away from a waterbody.
If you think you have discovered an AIS that has not already been confirmed in your lake, please contact Oneida County AIS Coordinator, Stephanie Boismenue at email@example.com or (715)369-7835.
The Oneida County Land & Water Conservation Department cordially invites you to attend the 11th Annual Oneida County Stewardship Awards Banquet to celebrate and honor Invasive Species Superstars, Lake Groups, Clean Boats Clean Waters Watercraft Inspectors, and Citizen Lake Monitoring Network volunteers for their extraordinary efforts to protect Oneida County lands and waterbodies.
Do you have this pretty plant on your property? If so, it is very invasive! To learn how to identify, remove, and manage Yellow Iris, please click here: Yellow Iris
Oneida County Waterbodies with Yellow Iris: Bass Lake, Crescent Lake, Kathan Lake, Katherine Lake, Kawaguesaga Lake, Lake Julia (near Rhinelander), Minocqua Lake, Muskellunge Lake, Rhinelander Flowage, Squirrel Lake, Sunset Lake, Sureshot Lake, Tomahawk Lake, and Tomahawk Thoroughfare.
This species is Restricted in Wisconsin and may not be transferred (bought, sold, given away), transported, or introduced (imported or planted) in Wisconsin.
WHAT ARE AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES?
The term “invasive” refers to the most aggressive non-native species.
ARE ALL NON-NATIVE SPECIES INVASIVE?
No, actually only a small percent of introduced species ever become invasive. However, it is nearly impossible to predict which species will become invasive. Some species are present for many years before they exhibit invasive characteristics. Many invasive species go through a “lag phase” in which their populations grow slowly until they reach a size large enough for the population to explode and/or become acclimate to its adopted ecosystem and become invasive.
In their native environments, species have natural predators, competitors, parasites, pathogens and other biological mechanisms to keep the species in check and create a balance. However, when a species is introduced to a new environment, the checks and balances from its native range are missing in its new environment.
Now free from the checks and balances from its native range, the introduced species can effectively change the biodiversity of its new environment to suit its needs. As a result, the species can become aggressive, reproduce and spread rampantly, crowd out or replace native species, change food webs, reduce biodiversity, cause ecological havoc in many of our most sensitive habitats, harm fisheries, interfere with recreational activities, destroy crops, spread diseases, interfere with commercial industries, and cost billions of dollars annually to destroy. To makes matters worse, approximately 42% of Threatened or Endangered species are at risk due to invasive species.!
A Threat to Our Waters!
Dispersal Vectors and Distribution: The Spiny water fleas rapid spread is the result of adults and eggs hitching a ride in ballast transfers, water currents, recreational boats, bait buckets, livewells, ropes, cables, fishing lines, downriggers coated with both eggs and adults, and other sources of water dumped from boats. They can even invade a new waterbody if an infested fishing line is cast into a new lake. Additionally, while female water fleas die out of water, under certain conditions the eggs resist drying and freezing, and can establish a new infestation.
You Can Help: With your help, Oneida County’s waterbodies can continue to be free of spiny water fleas. Before launching and before leaving you must:
- Inspect your boats, trailers, and all equipment including fishing gear, anchors, anchor ropes, nets, and inside bait buckets.
- Remove any attached plants, animals, sand, mud, gelatinous clumps, and organisms.
- Drain all water from boats, motors, livewells and equipment.
- Never Move plants or live fish away from a waterbody! You may take leftover minnows away from any state water and use them again on that same water only if no lake or river water, or other fish or organisms were added to their container.
If you have been on a waterbody that has a spiny water flea infestation, please consider taking extra precautions (mentioned below) to ensure the eggs are killed, eliminate cross-contamination, and reduce the risk of transporting invasive species from lake to lake.
- Wash your boat and equipment with a hot, high-pressure washer at a car wash or at home,
- Make sure all water has evaporated from your boat and equipment, including live wells, for at least twenty-four hours before visiting another lake,
- Please report suspected infestations to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Anglers encouraged to take steps to prevent further spread
New Zealand mudsnails, an invasive snail, have recently been verified in two new streams in Dane County. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking anglers to help prevent the spread of this organism to other waterbodies.
Brewery Creek is a tributary to Black Earth Creek and is located in Cross Plains. The furthest upstream verified sites were roughly 0.6 miles upstream from the confluence with Black Earth Creek. New Zealand mudsnails were first confirmed in Black Earth Creek in the fall of 2013. Oregon Branch of Badfish Creek is located just East of Oregon. This site is the first confirmed infestation of the mudsnail in the Rock River Watershed.
These findings now make six known inland streams with populations of these invasive snails. All six streams are in either Dane or Columbia counties. The New Zealand mudsnail is an NR40 prohibited invasive species, meaning that this species has the potential to cause harm to the environment, human health, or the economy. The small snail can outcompete native stream insects that serve as food for fish, possibly depriving some fish of their preferred food. However, it is uncertain what impacts this invasive species will have on Wisconsin streams.
All water users play an important role in preventing the spread of the New Zealand mudsnail. Anyone can help prevent the spread of invasive species by following the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers guidance of:
- INSPECT your equipment, which includes boots, waders, nets, fishing gear, boat livewells, boat hulls, and trailers
- REMOVE any attached mud, aquatic plants or animals from equipment
- DRAIN all water from boats and equipment; and
- NEVER MOVE live fish away from a waterbody.
Due to the tiny size, “stickiness” to boots and other surfaces, and their ability to survive out of water for a long time, special precautions need to be taken to prevent transferring the mudsnail to new waters. Therefore, people who wade in streams for any reason are strongly encouraged to use a brush to scrub their boots and waders to prevent transporting New Zealand mudsnails. Boot brushes are sometimes available for use at kiosks at popular trout fishing access points. Equipment can also be thoroughly rinsed with tap water after scrubbing but only away from any streams or waterbodies. Freezing gear for at least eight hours will also further reduce the risk of transporting New Zealand mudsnails to other streams. By using these prevention strategies, water users can help protect our fisheries and stop the spread of invasive species.
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 12/4/18
4th GRADERS FROM CENTRAL SCHOOL IN RHINELANDER ARE FEATURED IN THE 2018 DRAIN CAMPAIGN VIDEO.
Check them out ….
WE INTERRUPT YOUR DAY TO BRING YOU THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT MESSAGE:
Oneida County’s Youth Would Like You to
“STOP AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS!”
What are AIS?
- Plants, animals and other organisms that have been introduced where they do not occur naturally
- Lacking natural pathogens or predators that keep them under control in their native habitats
- Spread rapidly and extensively through waterways
- Difficult, if not impossible, to control
- Negatively impact biodiversity, species at risk, and water quality
What are the impacts of AIS?
- Degrade spawning areas, wildlife habitats and decrease biodiversity
- Compete with native species for food and drastically alter food webs
- Harm our fisheries
- Can cause the extinction of endangered species
- Damage shoreline property and equipment
- Decrease property value
- Impact recreational activities, the economy, human health, and our quality of life
How can AIS spread?
The most common way that AIS are spread and introduced from one waterbody to another is through human transportation. AIS can act as hitchhikers by latching themselves to watercrafts, equipment, and gear and by hiding in live wells, bait buckets, and in mud collected on anchors.
After an enjoyable day on the water, spend a few minutes inspecting your watercraft and all gear for any signs of plants, seeds, mud, or sand. Invasive hitchhikers can be anywhere so look in all the nooks and crannies. It is not just motorized boats that can transport invasive species: canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, floaters, oars, life jackets, fishing gear just to name a few, need to be cleaned as well. Rule of thumb: If it touches water, it needs to be cleaned!
Boaters and Anglers….
Wisconsin has various laws in place to prevent the introduction and control the spread of AIS and diseases in Wisconsin:
- INSPECT boats, trailers, and equipment.
- REMOVE all attached aquatic plants and animals (before launching, after loading, and before transporting on a public highway).
- DRAIN all water from boats, vehicles, and equipment.
- NEVER MOVE plants or live fish away from a waterbody*
- DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.
- BUY minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer. Use leftover minnows only under certain conditions*
*You may take leftover minnows away from any state water and use them again on that same water. You may use leftover minnows on other waters only if no lake or river water or other fish were added to their container. Wisconsin’s bait laws for boaters and anglers can be found at: dnr.wi.gov/topic/Invasives/boat.html
Additional steps YOU can take to prevent the spread of AIS:
- CHECK UNUSUAL VECTORS such as duck hunting equipment, waders, clothing, pets, and ATV/UTV for mud, plants, and seeds.
- WASH your watercraft and equipment with hot, high-pressure water at a self-serve car wash or with a power washer at home.
- DRAIN onto dry land any item that can hold water (e.g. bilge, ballast, wells, and buckets).
- PULL THE PLUG when you get home to ensure all areas of the boat can dry.
- DRY all items completely before launching the watercraft into another body of water.
- REPORT new or isolated invasive plant and animal sightings
Re: AIS Campaigns and Campaign Supplies (Ice Packs and Towels)
There are several major statewide AIS campaigns this summer to add to your calendar and order supplies for:
- Drain Campaign (June 1-3, 2018)
- Free Fishing Weekend (June 1-3, 2018)
- Landing Blitz (June 29-July 4, 2018)
- AIS Snapshot Day (August 18, 2018)
If you have a CBCW project on your lake, regardless of whether it is grant funded or not, and will be conducting CBCW inspections during the Drain Campaign and/or Landing Blitz, the ice packs and towels are provided to your group for free. For those of you who have not participated in the campaigns before, here is a brief description of these events:
- During the Drain Campaign, CBCW staff and volunteers give fisherman an ice pack with the “Drain Your Catch” logo on it to remind them they must drain all water from their boats and equipment, and transport their fish on ice as an alternative to transporting in water.
- During the Landing Blitz, CBCW staff and volunteers hand out a boat towel with the “Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker” logo on it to boaters who are taking the AIS prevention steps.
- During the AIS Snapshot Day, volunteers join an AIS Team to help monitor designated waterways for prohibited and restricted invasive species (additional info about this event will be sent to you at a later date).
How to Order Campaign Supplies: Please contact me by Monday, March 19, 2018 by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 715-369-7835.
Thanks to our team of volunteers, a whopping 327 pots have been graced with native seeds!
Volunteers Sue Thome, Bob Thome, Belinda Williams, Bill Jaeger, Marj Mehring and Marcia Obukowicz joined AIS Coordinator, Stephanie Boismenue and Pollinator Coordinator, Baerbel Ehrig for a Seed Sowing Party at the Oneida County Courthouse on November 15, 2017.
WHY? The Land and Water Conservation Team and the AIS Team have been working on several habitat restoration projects throughout Oneida County. Once an invasive species has been eradicated from a location, native plants are put in its place. These seeds will be dormant throughout the winter, repotted into individual pots in the spring, and planted in their new home in the fall of 2018.
Seeds include: Blue Flag Iris, Brown-eyed Susan, Cup-plant, Golden Alexander, Hoary Vervain, Milkweed, New England Aster, Rattlesnake-Master, Rough Sunflower, Yellow Sunflower and various other Asters.
Channel 12’s Lane Kimble joined Oneida County AIS Team members Aubrey Nycz and Tom Boisvert, out on local lake to learn how to search for AIS and obtain water quality data – YAY Team! Check out the video below.
Monitoring Data Interactive Map
The Oneida County AIS Program, in collaboration with numerous statewide partners, monitors Oneida County lakes, rivers and streams for the presence of AIS as well as obtains baseline water quality monitoring data. Early detection of AIS is crucial for rapid response, containment, and management. Baseline water quality monitoring data estimates the health of the county’s lakes, rivers and streams. This interactive map application allows you to search the AIS Teams repository of collected data, including both the geographical distribution of AIS and the baseline water quality monitoring data collected by the Oneida County AIS Team. Through this free application, you can learn about your favorite waterbodies in Oneida County and share the information you gather with your lake association, family, friends and neighbors.
The app is free and you do not need to download a program.
To view the interactive map, click on the Oneida Co. AIS & Monitoring Interactive Map button below.