Volunteers needed for Lake Weyauwega
By Angie Landsverk
Community members are being asked to help remove an invasive species in Lake Weyauwega.
“We applied for a grant and didn’t get it, so we’re doing it ourselves,” said Bob Van Epps, a member of Weyauwega Lake Restoration.
On June 12, Anna Cisar helped trained a group of people how to remove Flowering Rush from the lake.
Cisar is a regional aquatic invasive species coordinator at Golden Sands Resource Conservation and Development Council.
The council is dedicated to preserving natural resources and designs and manages programs throughout Central Wisconsin.
This includes teaching lake users how to maintain water quality and control the spread of invasive species.
She said Flowering Rush is an emergent invasive species.
The plant grows under water and then comes up over the water, Cisar said.
“This plant is not native to this area,” she said. “It has the ability to out compete other natives.”
In order to have a healthy lake system, a variety of plants are necessary in it, Cisar said.
Last week, she worked with the lake group to show them to identify Flowering Rush from other plants and then how to best remove it from the lake.
“Once I get them trained, over the summer and the next couple summers, they will be working it back to manage it around Lake Weyauwega,” she said.
Van Epps said Flowering Rush is one of two invasives they are seeing in the lake.
Flowering Rush settles in the bays, he said.
The other invasive, Curlyleaf Pondweed, is trying to establish itself in the middle of the lake, Van Epps said.
He said last week’s goal was to begin creating a demonstration area by removing Flowering Rush.
The plan is to replace the invasive with native plants.
This work is part of the lake group’s efforts following the drawdown of the lake.
The drawdown of Lake Weyauwega began in June 2011 and ended in April 2013.
“There’s a lot of positives here,” Van Epps said.
He said the river channel opened up.
“We reopened the springs on the south end of the lake,” he said. “We got rid of Eurasian Milfoil.”
Erasian Milfoil is also an invasive species.
Van Epps describes it as a long-term project and said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is researching the Waupaca River to see what is going into it.
Lynn Ponto was among those volunteering at the lake last week.
She is a science teacher at Weyauwega-Fremont High School, and her students have been involved in various projects having to do with the lake.
Ponto said they initially became involved after Weyauwega Lake Restoration wrote a grant, and the grant had an educational component.
“I’ve had kids take pictures for years from the same spots,” she said.
Students have also done water testing upstream, downstream and on the lake itself, Ponto said.
“A lot of it was visual,” she said, “to see changes in the lake.”
Ponto is always looking for more information and for people interested in helping.
Many different groups are involved, she said.
“This is a learning process for us,” Van Epps said.