Jun

24

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) – State environmental officials adopted sweeping regulations Wednesday to control phosphorus pollution in Wisconsin waters, hoping to slow runaway algae growth and preserve water-based tourism and recreation.

The package creates new restrictions on a wide range of potential sources, from farm fields and barnyards to large-scale wastewater producers. The Natural Resources Board adopted the regulations unanimously after about four hours of discussion.

“In the long run, this may be the single most important action on water quality the Natural Resources Board has ever done,” said Jonathan Ela, the board’s chairman. “This takes us a long ways.”

Biologists believe phosphorus, a chemical commonly found in fertilizer and manure, can cause ugly algae blooms that deplete water oxygen levels, killing aquatic life. The blooms also can cause health problems, including rashes, headaches and nausea. The DNR considers 172 Wisconsin lakes, rivers and streams “impaired waters” because of phosphorus pollution.

The Department of Natural Resources generally prohibits excessive phosphorus in state waters, but the agency hasn’t set out any hard limits.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has been pushing states for over a decade to impose more precise standards, known as numeric limits, on the total amount of phosphorus allowed in a water body, but only a few states have done it.

Last year, the EPA imposed standards on a state for the first time after environmentalists sued for action in Florida. And in November, several groups, including the Sierra Club and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, warned the EPA they also planned to sue in Wisconsin unless action was taken.

DNR water experts have been working on phosphorus controls since the early 1980s, but they say research didn’t advance enough to develop solid, science-based numeric limits until recently.

The new rules impose the state’s first phosphorus limits on the agricultural sector.

They restrict phosphorus run-off from fields to 6 pounds per acre annually over an eight-year average. Farmers would not be allowed to plow within 5 feet of a stream bank to prevent erosion and would have to install equipment such as sump pumps to prevent wastewater from milk houses and feed storage structures from running off. Farmers wouldn’t have to abide by the requirements unless the state covers 70 percent of compliance costs.

The rules also lay out per-liter limits in rivers, streams and lakes. River water, for example, could not contain more than 100 micrograms per liter. Municipal wastewater plants, food processors, paper mills and other factories would be allowed to work with farmers to achieve those limits.

Organizations lined up at the board meeting to express support for the rules, including the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and the Municipal Environmental Group Wastewater Division.

Still, Amber Meyer Smith, program director for Clean Wisconsin, told the board the field run-off standard wasn’t tough enough. She said 84 percent of state farms already meet it. Smith also complained the 5-foot plowing setback wasn’t enough.
Scott Manley is the environmental policy director for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. He warned the board the regulations would make Wisconsin a regulatory island in the Midwest and put the state at a competitive disadvantage.

He also complained the rules would slam businesses with new costs. The DNR estimates up to 163 municipal plants alone may need new filtration systems that could run a total of $300 million to $1.13 billion.

“That’s an awful lot of money to add to the cost of doing business in this state,” Manley said.

But Don Hammes of Middleton, a member of the Yahara Fishing Club’s board of directors, backs the rules. He said fishing on Madison-area lakes is disgusting.

“The surface of the lakes will be covered with a green-blue-turquoise scum that makes it impossible to cast a line out without it getting slimed up,” Hammes said. “Please support these rules for my grandchildren and my children.”

The rules are still subject to legislative review. Sen. Kathleen Vinehoult, D-Alama, chairwoman of the Senate agriculture committee, said the rules look substantial enough to warrant a hearing by the end of July.

The EPA also must sign off on the numeric standards.

Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle last year signed bills that limited phosphorus in residential dishwater soap and banned the sale of fertilizer containing phosphorus except for use on first-year lawns and phosphorus-poor soils.

via Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approves phosphorus regulations; could cost municipalities billions | thenorthwestern.com | Oshkosh Northwestern.

Jun

24

Almost every time someone has died in a boating accident in Wisconsin, the victim was not wearing a life jacket.

Yet, Wisconsin and Virginia are the only two states that do not require boaters to wear life preservers — not even children, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

A proposed bill in the Legislature that would require children younger than 13 years old to wear a life jacket failed to go to a vote last session. Department of Natural Resources recreation safety warden Jeff Dauterman said he was encouraged by attempts to create a life jacket law for children, but said it comes down to common sense for all boaters.

Mike Chadderdon, 37, of Kronenwetter takes his boat out at least once or twice a week in the summer. He said he makes sure he has enough life jackets available and within reach for everyone on board. If his kids or their friends are skiing or tubing, they must wear a life jacket.

“Always, if theyre in the water,” he said.

Its a practice his kids dont mind.

“Its what you do unless you want to drown,” said his son, Ryan, 12.

Sixteen people died in boating accidents in Wisconsin in 2009 and 15 of them did not wear a life jacket, according to the DNR. The 16th person has not been found, but Dauterman said all 16 likely could have survived had they worn a life jacket. All the deaths resulted from the person falling overboard, or the boat capsizing.

“I cant stress that its not enough to have life jackets on board; its wearing them,” Dauterman said. “It's a split second from being on a boat to struggling for your life.”

That was the case May 30 when a 33-year-old Rhinelander woman died while trying to rescue her 9-year-old daughter, who fell from a boat on Lake Minocqua in Oneida County. The child was rescued by boaters, but the woman, Jaime L. Pontell, disappeared in the water. Her body was found the next day. Pontell was not wearing a life jacket, authorities said. Dauterman said DNR wardens still are trying to learn if the child was wearing a life jacket.

Unsafe boating is not just a Wisconsin problem. Kim Elverum, a boat and water safety coordinator for the Minnesota DNR, said 14 of that states 15 boating deaths involved victims not wearing a life jacket. The one person who wore a life jacket died of internal injuries when the tube he was being pulled on hit a docked pontoon boat.

“If we could convince people to wear (a life jacket), wed cut our fatalities by 80 percent,” Elverum said.

Wisconsin law enforcement officials hope to improve boaters; driving and safety habits by targeting the younger generation. The Mandatory Education Law that was put in place in September 2007 requires people born on or after Jan. 1, 1989, and who are at least 16 years old, to have a DNR boating safety education certificate to operate a motorboat or personal water craft.

Boaters 12 to 15 years old must either have a boating safety certificate or have an adult on board.

Classes are available on the Internet or offered in the community and offer information about the rules and regulations, how to operate a boat, and the importance of safety.

Marathon County Sheriffs Lt. Randy Albert, who oversees the countys boat patrol program, said the department had taught as many as 120 people a year in boater safety classes. The program was discontinued this year for budgetary reasons and as participation numbers dropped because of the popularity of the Internet course, Albert said.

Eye on the water

DNR wardens try to keep an eye on area waterways, looking for intoxicated boat drivers and overloaded boats, and conducting safety checks of watercraft. To help the wardens, the DNR has $1.4 million this year to give to local law enforcement agencies to conduct its own boat patrols.

In 2009, Marathon County officers recorded 207.5 hours for boat patrol by patrolling the water, training, conducting investigations or completing boat-related paperwork, Dauterman said. The county can be reimbursed up to 75 percent for the more than $8,100 it spent on boat patrol.

Lincoln County, which has one recreational officer compared with the multiple officers used by Marathon County, spent almost $15,000 while recording 307.5 hours in 2009.

Albert said the Marathon County Sheriffs Department tries to put officers in areas where there are a number of complaints or high boater traffic, but staffing schedules and the need to respond to calls of greater importance take priority.

“We dont have a set pattern. We pop up here and will pop up there,” Albert said. “If people boat responsibly, they dont have to fear where we are.”

— Everest Herald reporter Amy Ryan contributed to this report.

via Wisconsin one of two states that doesn’t require life jackets for boaters | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Jun

21

MENASHA — Jim Lingnofski has lived on Paris Street along the Fox River for 32 years and has never seen the abundance of aquatic plants that have emerged this year.

He and other boaters find themselves plowing through thick mats of vegetation to get from the channel to their shoreline properties as the weeds entangle the engines.

“Ive never seen them that thick,” said Lingnofski, who ties up his 26-foot boat along a concrete bulk head wall behind his home.

Although rain and wind on Tuesday helped break up some of the dense growth, waterfront residents are concerned that a spate of hot weather could lead to algae growth on the top of the aquatic plants. “Then it will turn putrid and give off a really foul smell,” Lingnofski said.

The buildup of the plants — primarily Eurasian water milfoil and curly-leaf pondweed, which are two major invasive species — is a problem throughout Lake Winnebago because the water is so clean, said Chuck Fitzgibbon, aquatic plant manager for the state Department of Natural Resources. Coontail, a common Winnebago plant, also is thriving.

“The clearer the water is the more active aquatic plants get in their growth cycle” because they get more sunlight, said Fitzgibbon, who visited the main Fox River channel from the lake Monday at the request of concerned riverfront residents. “Many of those types of aquatic plants are not firmly rooted to the (lake) bottom. As they reach the end of their growth cycle they might become dislodged and go wherever they feel like it.”

Lingnofski called it a Catch 22. “The water is clear as can be, but you cant see through the water because the weeds are so high.”

While the plants are a nuisance for boaters and waterfront residents, Fitzgibbon said they are mostly harmless.

“Its;s more of a cosmetic issue,” he said. “And how temporary it is, is really dependent on Mother Nature.”

Lingnofski raked some of the weeds from the water in front of his home this spring but they grew back. On Wednesday, he saw more riverfront residents raking in the plants, and drying and disposing of them.

“The rivers been overtaken and inundated with weed growth,” said Mike Taylor, a Menasha alderman who has lived on the river 13 years and contacted the DNR after talking to neighbors. “I don;t know if its going to get worse.”

The boating channels are mostly clear but boaters struggle outside of them, he said.

“By the time you get out to the mouth of the river, the weeds are wrapped around your impeller and you actually have to go into reverse thrust to clear the weeds before you go into high speed.”

Fitzgibbons advice: Dont panic. “Its nothing to be alarmed about.”

Michael King: 920-729-6622, ext. 33, or mking@postcrescent.com

via Lake Winnebago, Fox River aquatic plant bloom raises algae concerns | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Jun

21

Wisconsin to participate in National Boating Under the Influence Enforcement Effort

News Release Published: June 18, 2010 by the Central Office

Contact(s): Roy Zellmer, DNR Boating Safetey Administrator, (608) 264-8970

Operation Dry Water – June 25-27, 2010

MADISON – Because driving while intoxicated is a dangerous move whether behind the wheel of a car or a boat, Wisconsin's boating law administrator says state officials will be participating in “Operation Dry Water,” a national campaign to target enforcement efforts on this dangerous practice.

Operation Dry Water is coming to state waterways the weekend of June 25-27, says Roy Zellmer, Department of Natural Resources conservation warden and boating law administrator. State conservation wardens along with local boating law enforcement officers will be out in force on state waters that weekend looking for boat operators who are impaired.

”Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs contributes to nearly two in five recreational boating fatalities in Wisconsin,” Zellmer said. “In 2009, 38 percent of boating fatalities involved alcohol and the average blood alcohol content in those fatalities was 0.227 percent – that’s nearly three times the legal limit.”

Wardens and boat patrol officers will be aggressively detecting, screening and arresting intoxicated operators. Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.

“In Wisconsin they include fines, jail and possible impoundment of boats,” Zellmer said. “A little planning goes a long way, designating a sober driver will make all the difference.”

Operation Dry Water, launched in 2009 by National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the United States Coast Guard.

Last summer, agencies and organizations from 46 states and 5 territories participated in the first ever Operation Dry Water weekend.

During that 2009 three-day weekend, 2,442 marine law enforcement officers made contact with 17,454 recreational vessels and issued 5,320 boating safety warnings, 283 BUI citations and 1,127 citations for other violations. This included 13 OWI citations in Wisconsin as well as hundreds of contacts between marine officers and boaters. This year, all 56 states, trusts and territories are expected to participate.

More information is available on the boating safety eduction pages of the DNR website and at [Operation Dry Water] (exit DNR).

via WDNR News Release – Wisconsin to participate in National Boating Under the Influence Enforcment Effort.

Jun

12

June 12-13th
Air & Water Show: Starts at 10:30am

The Milwaukee Air & Water Show is located at the beautiful Milwaukee Lakefront, between Bradford Beach and McKinley Beach, with the show center-point located at 2272 North Lincoln Memorial Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For more information please see the following link:  Milwaukee Air & Water Show

Jun

11

MENASHA — The Fox River lock here reopened Friday morning after a nearly two-week hiatus, but not to a flood of boats awaiting passage.

Soaking rains kept all but a few recreational boaters off the water, so the reopening was a modestly celebrated event.

Lock tender Ysaac Gonzalez said the lock transported only a single craft during its first few hours of operation after returning to service Friday.

The first boat through was among the half-dozen parked at the Menasha Marina since a lock gate hinge snapped May 30.

The boat’s skipper was “happy to get through,” Gonzalez reported.

Gonzalez, 19, of Neenah, a second-year lock operator, said business is predictably slow when the weather is bad, but the lock remains ready for service nonetheless.

It operates from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays during the boating season. On weekends and holidays, the schedule stretches from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Gonzalez reads, mows the grass around the locks and visits with users of the adjacent Friendship State Trail when the gaps between boaters are few.

It takes about 10 minutes for a boat to pass though the locks, he said.

“If the weather cooperates, we’ll get 50 or 60 (boat passages) a day, if not more,” he said.

The busiest days tend to include the Fourth of July weekend, he said. The slowest ones are like Friday.

via Menasha lock reopens to slow traffic | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.

Jun

11

The Second Annual Oshkosh Irish Fest is coming to the Leach Amphitheater June 11-13. Come and enjoy great Celtic music, taste authentic Irish food, watch incredible Irish dancers, learn about the unique Irish Culture, shop in our Irish vendor area, participate in the 5K run/walk or raffle raising money to benefit Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin, bring your kids for the Wee Little activities, or just sit and enjoy this beautiful park on the water. Seating is limited in Riverside Park, so we strongly suggest you bring your lawn chairs.

Oshkosh Irish Fest in a non-profit organization formed to celebrate Irish and Celtic culture. As a young, but growing event, we are continually looking for help and support. If you are interested in being a part of the festival as a sponsor or volunteer, please let us know.

We look forward to seeing you in June. Sláinte! For more information info@OshkoshIrishFest.com or see their website at: http://www.oshkoshirishfest.com/

Friday Ticket $7
Saturday Ticket $7
Sunday Ticket $7
Weekend Ticket $20
VIP Weekend $100

Jun

11

One of Fond du Lac’s largest festivals!

June 11th, 12th, 13th

Friday   3:00 pm. – 10:30 pm.
Saturday 8:00 am. – 10:30 pm.
Sunday 8:00 am. – 6:00 pm.

Interested in getting a slip at Lakeside Park Marina for the weekend?  Call 920-906-5096 to make your reservations.
Lots to do for the entire family! For more Information, visit their website:http://www.fdlfest.com/walleye_weekend.html

Jun

1

Please Welcome aboard the Fin ‘n Feather Showboats as a site sponsor to BoatingWinnebago.com

The Fin is located directly on the wolf river in downtown Winneconne.  They have several docks for patron parking, and there is additional parking in the public docks on both sides of the bridge.

They have graciously provided the following coupon for $2.00 of a home made pizza AND a free pitcher of your favorite beverage.

Please Click here for the coupon

The Fin has a full schedule of live entertainment scheduled though out the summer, please see the BoatingWinnebago.com Calendar of Events in the coming days for all the Fin’s events!

The Fin ‘n’ Feather is a Bridge to Sport, Season and Friends

We have a large dining room with wonderfully diverse breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as a large salad, soup and buffet bar. We are famous for our buffets and Sunday brunch.

Our large banquet hall has a full bar and a large dance floor for your special event.

We also have a large meeting room equipped with high speed internet and audio/visual equipment for your organization’s use.

Cocktail and food service is available on our riverside deck. We have ample docking for pleasure boats – and we provide a shuttle service for anchored boats.

For Reservations please call: (920) 582-4305

For further details please contact us at:

Fin-n-Feather Showboats
PO Box 400
22 W. Main Street
Winneconne, WI 54986

finnfeatherweb@charterinternet.com


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Jun

1

Glitch alters plans for boaters going from Fox River to Lake Winnebago

By Jim Collar • Post-Crescent staff writer • May 30, 2010

MENASHA — A broken hinge pin on a heavily used Fox Valley lock might close the gates on some holiday weekend fun for local boaters.

Bryan Zempel of the Town of Vandebroek took it in stride Saturday upon approaching the Menasha lock only to learn that he wouldnt make it back to his truck and trailer at the Ninth Street boat landing.

A lock tender drove him there and nothing was lost, but for a little extra time. Still, plenty of the Memorial Day weekend remains ahead.

“Its going to put a little kink in there for a lot of people,” Zempel said.

More than a dozen boats were left blocked off from their destinations on either side of the lock after a snapped pin on the left lower gate took it out of commission early Saturday afternoon.

Menashas lock is the southernmost among 17 running from Menasha to Green Bay. Its a popular gate opening Fox River traffic to Lake Winnebago.

Just as the door can’t swing properly upon falling from a hinge, one of the seal gates slipped down Saturday when the pin broke, leaving it incapable of movement.

Harlan Kiesow, CEO of the Fox River Navigational System Authority, which oversees operation of the locks, said the holiday took away any hope of a quick fix. Repair will require bringing in a crane to move the heavy seal gate, and it isn’t going to be repaired before Memorial Day passes.

“Its unfortunate, because this is our busiest weekend,” Kiesow said. “Its not just those who are stranded, but there are a lot more who wanted to go through and theyre out of luck.”

Kiesow said Tuesday would be the earliest before crews could come in and assess the damage.

Several people with larger boats were able to make arrangements for mooring at marinas on either side of the lock, he said.

Lock tenders said they knew something was wrong upon hearing a loud squeal while operating the lock at about 1:30 p.m. They stretched yellow caution tape across the lock along the Little Lake Butte des Morts side.

Ysaac Gonzales, one of the tenders, said some boaters had their share of frustration after returning after a day of boating to find their tour cut short.

“It happens,” he said. “Greet them with a smile. Its all you can do.”

Tenders did their best to mitigate the situation.

“Theyre really happy that Im giving them rides,” Gonzales said.

Zempel suggested a little signage at popular docking points to alert boaters could go a long way to relieve frustration during the remainder of the weekend.

Gary Long with the Appleton Yacht Club said members still managed to enjoy Lake Winnebago even while they couldnt steer their boats back to shore at Lutz Park.

“Theyre all having the times of their lives,” he said. “They just arent going to be able to get back.”

via Broken hinge pin puts Menasha lock out of commission | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent.