Board seeks evaluation after drawdown
By Jane Myhra
A comprehensive lake study has been approved by the Lake Iola Lake District Commissioners.
At the board’s meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29, three options were presented by John Bertelson, Jr., president of the Lake Iola Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District.
He said the lake district could do a full lake study, a partial lake study or no lake study.
“I am in favor of a comprehensive study mainly to get an accurate understanding of the effects of the previous two-year draw down on our lake,” Bertleson said. “This would go a long way to help us decide if we ever want to use a draw down as a future lake management tool.”
He said the last comprehensive lake study was almost 10 years ago.
“The draw down was a major action for our lake, but all we have are people’s opinions as to its effectiveness,” Bertleson said. “This is an opportunity for us to do another study to evaluate the condition of the lake post-draw down.”
Both a full or a partial study may qualify for grants, according to Ted Johnson, of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
A full study, by Onterra, will take two years and cost the lake district about $8,000, with DNR grants.
“We keep it reasonable, but make sure we know the lake well enough to guide you,” said Tim Hoyman, of Onterra. “There will be questions we won’t be able to answer.”
The study is scheduled to start in 2016 and finish in 2017. Onterra will apply for the grants.
The lake study will help the lake district when it applies for DNR permits and grants.
“What the DNR allows the lake district to do as far as lake management actions depends on the condition of the lake, and if that is not known then we may not be allowed to do very much outside of our chemical spraying for invasive weeds and weed harvesting,” Bertleson said.
Lake district members expressed concern about the cost of a study and noted nobody followed the recommendations of the previous study.
“We may very well end up with the same lake management actions of today, but at least we will know that we explored all available options at this time,” Bertleson said. “As for the cost, ‘affordable’ to me means that we do not raise the current tax levy.”
He said the bulk of the costs will come after the final loan payment of $8,880 for the lake drain project, which is due in December 2016.
According to Bertleson, DNR grants will pay a majority, 67 percent, of the comprehensive study. The total cost for the lake district is expected to be about $7,564, which has been budgeted.
In its agreement with Onterra, the lake district would not be obligated to complete the project if the DNR grant is not approved.
The kickoff meeting for the lake study will be held during the lake district’s annual meeting in June 2016.