Sep

30

It has been my absolute pleasure serving this community since its creation in Feb. of 2010.  Due to inactivity, time constraints and costs, the forums here at www.BoatingWinnebago.com have been set to a “read only,” state.

The site has always been by the boaters for the boaters and we wanted to insure that there was a place to continue to have the Boating Community come together.

A Facebook Group seemed like the best option as we can have multiple admins and everyone can post / discuss things in a common fairly well known interface.

These forums will remain online until further notice.  There is a wealth of knowledge here on many different subjects.  Feel free to use the search function and link back to it as a reference source at your leisure.

If anyone here would like their user account deleted you are able to do that from the Profile area.

 

Here is the link to the archived forums:

http://www.boatingwinnebago.com/forums/

Here is the link to the Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/BoatingOnLakeWinnebago

ENJOY!

 

 

Mar

25

BoatingWinnebagoLogoSilverPirateI think it has become obvious that I personally do not have the time or dedication to properly take care of this site anymore.  I no longer have a boat.  Other hobbies and life activities occupy my time now.

I’ve come to a tough decision but I think its the right one.  It’s time for me to sell the site or hand over the promotional reigns of the site to a new person or group of persons.  I’m doing this so that the site can again flourish and be the best resource for information for the Lake Winnebago boating community.  Which has always been the mission.

I am offering the site for outright sale or on a free lease.

If there is a person or group of people that would like to promote and drive traffic to the site while I still maintain the back end and hosting I’m good with that.  The lease would be free as long as the site is being promoted and stays active and it does not turn into a profit generating business.  Think of this as more of a community service type agreement.  If good faith is show over a couple boating seasons by said leaser to keep the site free and open, I would be inclined to transfer the domain name etc to them for a very very small price.  The spirit of the site has always been to be free and by the boaters for the boaters, it means more to me to keep that dream alive than to get any type of a paycheck out of this.   (Something I have never taken from the ownership of this site.)

If there is a person or business that is interested in an outright purchase, you will get the following:
The BoatingWinnebago.com domain name.
The Wordpess and SMF website and databases for moving to new hosting.
Facebook page with almost 1000 likes
twitter account and youtube channel.
All promotional materials I have.
Once you own the domain name, it is yours to do with as you please but I’ll be very selective and want to know your intentions.

Even with the reduction in activity the site still is #1 ranked site in most major search engines for boating on lake Winnebago and is consistently in the top 10 for just about any search related to lake Winnebago.  That is not by accident.

If you are interested in the site, please send an email to Webmaster@BoatingWinnebago.com or use the contact form here:  http://www.boatingwinnebago.com/contact/

If there is no interest I will be shutting down the site, but will still register the domain name for the foreseeable future to avoid any online domain wholesale places getting a hold of it.

Thank You,

Corey Mielke

Dec

20

A park bench, bicycles,lily pads, rocks and other items are being found in the muck of Lakeside Park lagoons as a dredging project continues.

About 1½ miles of tubes are transporting water, liquified mud and other ground items from the lagoons to an area on the west end of the park property.

About 60 residents turned out for a meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Lakeside Park Pavilion that provided an update on the project. Fond du Lac Public Works Director Jordan Skiff, City Engineer Paul De Vries and Kent Petersen, owner of PCI Dredging based in Minocqua, were on hand to explain the work.

“This has been a good project,” Petersen said, adding that the park setting without houses at the banks has made it easier to maneuver equipment.

Hydraulic dredging involves use of barges with claw-like arms that dig the material and send it in pipes to an area where water and solids are separated.

The first phase of work is nearly complete. Crews have been working around the clock in an area south of the Promen Drive bridge. That area was nearly clogged with sediment washing in from Lake Winnebago.

PCI Dredging plans to shut operations down after this week. Work is likely to resume in March with completion scheduled for May.

“The cold weather is a challenge,” Petersen said. “We’ve proven we can work in minus-7 (degrees).”

Petersen showed residents jars of clay balls and rocks that clog equipment on a regular basis. He said the machines pump about 2,500 to 3,000 gallons of diluted material a minute.

The dredged material is being stored in an open pit at Lakeside West. Residents are asked to stay away from the storage area.

Lakeside Park dredging project shuts down soon story, video | Action Reporter Media | fdlreporter.com.

Nov

25

The date was Nov. 14, 1813. British Colonel Robert Dickson arrived on Lake Winnebago’s Garlic Island, and established an encampment with his group of 27 fighting men. Dickson’s goal as an “Indian Agent” for the British in the War of 1812 was to recruit the support of Native Americans against the Americans in the battle that basically was over the fur trade. Dickson’s goal was to use gifts and merchandise to gain support with tribes located in the corridor from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien.

Weather conditions prevented this group from completing their travel to Prairie du Chien that cold November, so Dickson and his troops set up camp on Garlic Island. Nearby on the mainland was a Menominee village that soon became reliant on Colonel Dickson for goods and supplies.

As winter pressed on, conditions became more difficult. Supplies from Green Bay were not able to get through, creating a serious situation for Dickson, his men and the local Menominee’s. “Although Dickson and his men were themselves often on the edge of starvation, both his natural humanity and strategic considerations compelled him to feed the Indians as well as he was able” (source: Illinois in the War of 1812).

Letters from Colonel Dickson to his lieutenants and others describe the rapidly deteriorating conditions. On March 15 he wrote, “…I am heartily sick and tired of this place. There is no situation more miserable than to see objects around you dying with hunger, and unable to give them but little assistance. I have done what I can for them, and will in consequence starve myself. With best wishes. Yours truly, R. Dickson” (source: Garlic Island War Letters, 1813-1814, Colonel Robert Dickson).

It was soon after, provisions arrived as spring allowed travel routes to become more accessible. Dickson and his men eventually continued their trek southward.

The result of the War of 1812 as stipulated in the Treaty of Ghent is that American forces prevailed.

Here, on Nov. 14, 2013, the 200th Anniversary of the arrival of Colonel Dickson, a few local citizens joined the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society to commemorate this historic occasion on Garlic Island. On hand for the dedication was Richard Keene of Neenah, Archaeologist Richard Mason of Neenah and Randy Domer of the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society. Two flags were hoisted onto the flagpole located near the waters edge. First, the American flag followed by the British flag. The flags were raised by Keene and Mason, followed by a commemoration read by Domer.

Historic Garlic Island is located on Lake Winnebago near its west shoreline, north of Asylum Bay between Oshkosh and Neenah.

via Garlic Island celebrates bicentennial | Post-Crescent Media | postcrescent.com.

Oct

31

icestarOshkosh – He’s an icon around Lake Winnebago, because for more than thirty years, Don Herman’s company has helped to pull hundreds of vehicles from the lake after they’ve fallen through the ice. And now that lifestyle could be turned into a reality TV show.Don Herman is the expert when it comes to Lake Winnebago ice conditions. He has decades of experience to prove it. So when a reality TV show producer called Herman and expressed an interest in doing a show on his business, Sunk? Dive and Ice Service, and what happens around the lake in the wintertime, Herman was not interested.

“I said yeah, whatever! And I hung up,” recalls Herman. “I thought it was fake.”

But persistence paid off for producer Jay Russell who finally got Herman to agree to participate. Russell truly believes the Lake Winnebago ice fishing sub-culture is something America would love to see.

“We feel like it’s something that is different,” says Jay Russell from ACR Productions. “I mean one of the big positives is you don’t have shows, reality TV shows from this geographical area. There’s none on there because it just hasn’t been found.”

So, since April, Russell has been working with Herman and a cast of characters to produce a trailer that will be shown to network executives with hopes to sign a deal for a reality TV show. It’s a vision that Russell says actually has potential of being picked up.

He says, “Everybody seemed to really like it, you know, that it was different. It was dangerous, it was high stakes, that kind of thing.”

And for herman it’s helped to breathe new life into his decades old career.

Says Herman, “I said I was going to retire, but it kind of gave me a boost of energy now.”

A boost that will get bigger if the show is picked up, something that could happen by early next year.

 

Lake Winnebago Icon Could Become Reality TV Star – WBAY.

Oct

11

OSHKOSH – From Riverside Park, Oshkosh Common Councilor Steve Herman can see evidence of Oshkosh’s central city revitalization in every direction.

There’s the Best Western Premier hotel and Oshkosh Convention Center to the west, the Leach Amphitheater to the east, the ongoing demolition of the former Jeld-Wen property to the south and, of course the river walk all around.

“Redevelopment is slowly occurring and everyone is so pleased with the development of the river walk,” Herman said. “But then they have to look at that.”

“That” would be the new Canadian National, or CN, lift bridge that replaced the 114-year-old swing bridge over the Fox River on Aug. 19. Herman is one of many who would like to see the CN bridge painted or lit or —something, anything really — to improve its appearance.

“It just looks terrible,” Herman said. “We’re re-energizing our central city and that’s what they get to look at. It takes away from the river walk, in my opinion.”

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student Tony Montalvo has a clear view of Lake Winnebago from his apartment in the 100 North Main building. Well, it’s clear until the new bascule span’s counterweight pushes the center span almost 125 feet into the air.

Still, Montalvo said the old bridge was worse.

“When it’s up, it obstructs the view, but it’s not bad. It’s better than the black hunk of crap that used to be there. And it’s not loud at all,” Montalvo said.

But would a coat of paint help?

“Paint would definitely make it look better,” Montalvo said.

Herman has translated his displeasure with the bridge’s appearance into a resolution the Council will consider when it meets at 6 p.m. tonight. In it, Herman strongly urges CN “to review the aesthetic qualities of the replacement bridge over the Fox River” and “to take such actions as may be appropriate to make the bridge more complementary in appearance with the surrounding properties and structures along the riverfront.”

But it seems unlikely local concerns about the bridge’s appearance will make much difference.

The company’s spokesman, Patrick Waldron, said the company has no plans to paint the bridge and that a substantial portion of the $27 million project has been completed.

“You have a $27 million in the transportation infrastructure of Oshkosh that we’re very proud of,” Waldron said. “It was a major construction project that we’re pleased to see completed.”

Not everyone is upset with the appearance.

Bayshore Marina owner Larry Akstulewicz has monitored progress on the bridge replacement since it began two years ago from his Bay Shore Drive marina. He said he likes the appearance, but would like it more if its operators could open it more often.

He was a bit surprised to learn CN had no intention of painting it, though.

“It’s a neat feat of engineering. It’s cool as heck,” Akstulewicz said. “I give a ton of kudos to the engineers and designers. It’s awesome. But I can’t see them spending that kind of money and not protecting it. At least they painted the old (bridge) a couple of times over the years it was there.”

via Appearance of new rail bridge draws complaints | Fond du Lac Reporter | fdlreporter.com.

Oct

11

FOND DU LAC (WITI) – The Fond du Lac Fire Department has taken delivery of two Mercury inflatable rescue boats and a tandem trailer by working jointly to with Mercury Marine and Mr. Marine.

The FDLFD will use these assets not only along the south shore of Lake Winnebago, but in the rivers that wind throughout the city, retention ponds, and in areas of flooding.

The FDLFD has previously deployed waterway resources not only in rescues, but has served to locate victims, deploy booming for hazardous materials spills in Lake Winnebago and rivers, ice rescue, assisting the Fond du Lac Police Department in water investigations, and submerged boat and vehicle incidents. Fire department members will undergo “hands-on” training in the coming weeks so they are prepared for deployments.

The tandem trailer concept was brought to Fond du Lac Fire Department through its partnership with Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) which developed this boat rapid deployment model.

via Fond du Lac Fire Dept. receives two rescue boats | FOX6Now.com.

Aug

26

KAUKAUNA — Imagine boating down the lower Fox River from Lake Winnebago to Wrightstown.

For the past three decades, that’s been a pipe dream. By spring 2015, it will be a reality.

The Fox River Navigational System Authority has begun a $3.3 million project to restore and reopen three Kaukauna locks — Nos. 1, 2 and 3 — for boating. Restoration of a fourth Kaukauna lock — No. 5 — will be bid separately later this summer but also will be finished by the 2015 boating season.

“The restoration of the Kaukauna locks is part of the final phase of the overall lower Fox River lock restoration project that began in 2005,” said Harlan Kiesow, CEO of the Fox River Navigational Authority, which was created by the state.

Upon the reopening of the shuttered Kaukauna locks, only one obstacle — the Rapide Croche aquatic invasive species barrier near Wrightstown — will prevent boaters from traveling between Lake Winnebago and Green Bay.

The Rapide Croche barrier will remain sealed, but the navigational authority plans to construct an overland boat lift and cleaning station to clear the obstacle. That work is scheduled for 2015-17 and would be the last piece of a puzzle that hasn’t been together since the 17-lock system was shut down in 1984.

“The opening of the lock system should not only provide boating opportunities but will also foster recreational and historic tourism, as well as promote community waterfront economic development,” Kiesow said.

The lower Fox River lock system was once key to Wisconsin’s shipping and paper industries but was closed as those industries declined and maintenance costs grew.

The navigational authority took over management of the system from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2004. Since then, the authority has reopened to boaters the Menasha, four Appleton, Cedars, Little Rapids and De Pere locks. The Little Chute locks have been restored but are not open to boaters because of a required bridge replacement on Mill Street.

“Everybody has been waiting for this for a long time,” Kiesow said. “They are getting excited about it.”

The Boldt Co., based in Appleton, has been hired to restore the Kaukauna locks to their 1930s style. The project includes repairing the locks’ mechanical systems and rebuilding the locks’ walls, gates, chambers and guard houses.

The Wisconsin Historical Society and Legacy Architecture of Sheboygan are working with Boldt on the historical preservation. All 17 locks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We’re just repairing what we can and replacing what we can’t to make sure the locks work and function properly,” said Jennifer Lehrke, principal architect and consultant at Legacy Architecture. “However, we’re also matching old parts and ensuring the locks retain their historical value.”

Reed Rodenkirch, project manager for Boldt, said his crew will try to replicate the outstanding workmanship of a bygone era.

“I consider it sort of working in an outdoor museum,” he said. “We are actually building a museum display for the public.”

— Duke Behnke: 920-729-6622, ext. 32, or dbehnke@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @DukeBehnke

via Unlocking the locks | Appleton Post-Crescent | postcrescent.com.

Aug

12

On a windy July afternoon amid a fleet of sailboats, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor Todd Miller dived into the tumultuous waters of Lake Winnebago, the state’s largest inland lake and the only source of drinking water for more than 200,000 people.

With waves crashing on his back, Miller grabbed hold of a 4-foot-wide, 3-foot-tall solar-powered water monitoring buoy and hooked it to a chain attached to one of four 262-pound metal weights that will hold the buoy in place.

Through research financed with a $750,000 five-year grant from the National Institution of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Science Foundation, Miller hopes to learn more about dangerous toxins produced by blue-green algae in the lake and whether these toxins end up in the drinking water of the cities of Oshkosh, Appleton, Neenah and Menasha.

Little is known about the conditions that lead to the production of the toxins, known as cyanotoxins, and the four cities that derive drinking water from the lake don’t know if the toxins end up in their water.

But ingestion of some toxins can be fatal.

In 1993, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the Journal Sentinel that the toxins were a low-priority item and weren’t being dealt with because of a lack of resources.

Twenty years later, not much has changed.

Last month, Miller, an assistant professor at UWM’s Zilber School of Public Health, and his students deployed one of two homemade buoys equipped with sensors that measure physical variables, like water and air temperature, and blue and green algae pigment levels in the lake. Every five minutes, a modem on the buoy will send data collected by the sensors to the Miller Lab website.

The Miller Lab also is sampling water at each of the four cities’ water plants at various stages of the treatment process to determine what level of cyanotoxins, if any, are in the drinking water. Through his research, Miller hopes to better understand the conditions around the occurrence of these toxins. He hopes to construct a model that will help water plants prevent human exposure to the toxins.

While acute poisonings are well-documented, chronic exposure to low levels of cyanotoxins in drinking water is not. The toxins are known to cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, gastrointestinal illnesses, joint pain and damage to the liver — even cancer in extreme cases.

Since 1998, the EPA has listed cyanotoxins on three consecutive lists of contaminant candidates to regulate in drinking water.

“The EPA has this process: put stuff on the list and figure out the data gaps. Unfortunately, they hit the current federal financial squeeze and moving through that process has gotten more difficult,” said Alan Roberson, director of federal relations for American Waterworks Association.

Conducting the research to assess the occurrence of the toxins nationwide and develop a standardized analytical method to determine appropriate toxin thresholds for drinking water would cost millions of dollars, Roberson said.

No human deaths caused by algae toxins have been confirmed in the U.S. and not all algae blooms produce them. But there are documented fatalities in other countries, like Brazil, where 60 dialysis patients died in 1996 due to the presence of toxins in the water supply.

In 2003, a Dane County coroner’s report determined anatoxin-a, a neurotoxin produced by cyanobacteria, to be the culprit in the death of a Cottage Grove teenager who died after swallowing water in an algae-covered golf pond the prior summer. Today, officials still question the validity of the findings.

In Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago is the only inland lake used for drinking water. Mark Werner, section chief at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, said cyanobacterial algae blooms are not much of an issue in Lake Superior or Lake Michigan, where the City of Milwaukee derives its drinking water.

“It’s fairly safe to say that the removal is pretty good at surface water plants in Wisconsin, but it’s not something that is regularly on our radar,” said Steven Elmore, chief of public water supply at the state Department of Natural Resources.

Elmore pointed to studies conducted in the late 1990s, including one specific to Lake Winnebago, that showed treatment processes were effective at removing the toxins.

“It’s really up to the U.S. EPA to say this is something that we’re going to regulate,” he said.

But Miller pointed out the concentrations of toxins detected in the raw water were rather low back then, much lower than they are today.

“The problem is that you have a lot of dissolved organic carbon or other stuff in the water that can inhibit the breakdown of the toxins,” Miller said.

An auto-sampler attached to one buoy, located near the Oshkosh plant’s raw water intake, will collect at least two daily water samples that researchers will test for about two dozen possible cyanotoxins. Back at the lab, cyanotoxins in the raw water samples will be measured, but because the technology cannot detect all possible variations, researchers also will use a zebra fish assay to detect unknown toxins and overall water toxicity.

Wayne Carmichael, professor emeritus at Wright State University who has studied cyanotoxins over the past 40 years, said nearly half of the states have some kind of response strategy in place to monitor cyanotoxins. But it isn’t a nationwide problem.

Over the past four years, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has run a surveillance program that documents human and animal illnesses potentially linked to algal bloom exposure. In 2012, the program received 33 reports, five of which were for animals.

In Dane County, public health officials regularly monitor the water at recreational beaches and if there is an indication that a bloom is developing, they will issue an alert or health advisory. When levels of microcystin reach 20 micrograms or higher per liter, the beach is closed.

Every time Dane County sees large algae blooms in recreational waters, public health officials find that the toxin levels in the blooms are rather high — “greater than we expect,” says Kirsti Sorsa, program manager for the Department of Public Health for Madison and Dane County.

“There hasn’t been any significant move toward setting nutrient levels. All we’re doing is a better job of recognizing it,” Carmichael said. “We should be doing more.”

Twitter: twitter.com/skbaer

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/buoys-in-lake-winnebago-search-for-dangerous-algae-toxins-b9959471z1-218616731.html

 

Aug

12

All boat traffic through Oshkosh will be shut down next week, cutting restaurants and other waterfront businesses off from key customers during a 120-hour construction blitz on the Fox River railroad bridge.

The river will be impassable for five days between midnight Aug. 18 and midnight Aug. 23 while Canadian National Railway, which owns the bridge, removes and replaces the main span that opens and closes to boat traffic.

The job will put a cap on nearly two years of reconstruction work on the 114-year-old structure that supports an average of 25 freight trains every day. The company said the new bridge will improve boating access to the river by widening the pass-through and allow trains to move across more quickly.

Boaters and riverfront business owners said they hope for improved access, but they’re frustrated the work is taking place in the midst of peak tourism season. Vacationers may find themselves confined to Lake Winnebago and unable to access restaurants and marinas on the Fox River and the upstream lakes. At the same time, Oshkosh residents who keep their boats along the river won’t be able to go out on Lake Winnebago.

The cutoff is the latest in a string of complaints boaters have with CN railroad over its operation of the bridge, said Ron Kelbert, 60, president of Lakeside Harbour Dockominiums Association in Oshkosh.

Kelbert said the company has not listened to boaters’ complaints about long wait times for the bridge to open — it will close 30-45 minutes before trains arrive — and he worries the company will disregard boaters during and after the bridge work.

“I guess we thought at some point, since we’re almost to the end of the season, why not just wait another month?” he said. “If they have one thing go wrong it could push the date to another day, another week, another month. To boaters, every day in the summer is precious.”

Restaurant owners expect to take a hit in both lunch- and dinner-time customers, said Jay Supple, Chief Executive Officer for the Supple Group, which owns Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant.

“Anybody on Lake Winnebago that’s coming this way obviously can’t get to us… It’s not just us. It’s all the restaurants on the river that flows from Oshkosh down to Winneconne,” he said. “I understand they have to do it, and it’s great we’re getting a new bridge, but I’m just surprised they’re not doing it in September.”

CN railroad spokesman Patrick Waldron said the company wants to finish the work before Labor day. He acknowledged the disruption and said the company cooperated with the U.S. Coast Guard to limit impact on the waterway by working only on weekdays.

“This is a very large portion of the project we’re doing all at once to minimize the interruption to the boat traffic,” he said.

Minimizing disruption

The U.S. Coast Guard has been notifying area boaters and organizations of the bridge closure so there are no surprises next week, said Scot Striffler, bridge program manager for the Ninth Coast Guard District, located in Cleveland, Ohio.

“They’re not going to be able to get through there, so I’m sure it will impact folks for this five-day period. That’s the nature of the work, and we’re doing all we can to minimize that impact,” he said.

The payoff at the end, however, will be greater access for boaters.

The old bridge was made up of three steel through-trusses that span 480 feet across the river. The center section consists of a swing span that twists horizontally in the center to allow boats through one of two 64-feet wide navigation channels.

The new, $27 million bridge will replace the swing span with a vertically-lifting bascule span that will open to a single 125-foot wide navigation channel.

Much of the new bridge is already in place. The bascule span is the only section not yet installed.

The construction schedule has been set up to ensure boaters will be able to pass through the bridge normally on the weekends.

Boaters appreciate that, but still, “it’s an inconvenience,” said Dave Pable, 56, who owns a small fishing boat he keeps at Kubasta’s Landing along the river.

Pable said he he could still access Lake Winnebago by pulling his boatacross town on a trailer , but that would defeat the purpose of paying to rent a boat house directly on the river.

“I’ll be shut down for August, but I’ll find another way to go fishing,” he said.

The bridge closure will also affect Becket’s and the Ground Round restaurants, which just had their river access restored last week when the river walk was completed.

“I wish it wouldn’t take a week,” Becket’s co-owner Kris Larson said about the bridge work. “It certainly will inhibit access, but it will be better when it’s done. Luckily, boaters know about it and can prepare for it.”

Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel General Manager Dan Schetter said awareness among boaters should minimize the impact on Ground Round at River’s Edge’s business.

“A lot of our traffic comes down the river from the west,” he added.

Adam Rodewald writes for Oshkosh Northwestern Media. Northwestern reporter Jeff Bollier contributed to this story.

via Bridge work will shut down boat traffic on Fox River through Oshkosh | Appleton Post-Crescent | postcrescent.com.

Jul

11

All,

Good afternoon. I’m writing to notify everyone that CN RR has provided the schedule for the removal and replacement of the bridge in Oshkosh. The floating of the new bridge span and removal of the existing swing bridge via barge is scheduled from 2359 on August 18 to 2359 on August 23, 2013. The swing bridge is expected to be removed by noon on August 21, with the new span already in place but not operational. The waterway would essentially be impassable throughout the entire period, but small craft that can pass under the new bridge (approximately 6 feet vertical clearance) in the closed position would be able to pass between noon on August 21 and 2359 on August 23.

We request that this information be distributed as widely as possible in the local area. We will issue our Broadcast and Local Notice to Mariners with this information, but request additional outreach be done for local users.

Please feel free to contact me at the number below, or Lee Soule at (216) 902-6085, with any questions, and thank you in advance for getting this information out.

Scot

Scot Striffler
Bridge Program Manager
Ninth Coast Guard District
(216) 902-6087
Fax: (216) 902-6088
Scot.M.Striffler@uscg.mil

Jul

1

The death of a windsurfer whose body was discovered in Lake Winnebago on Saturday is still under investigation.

Authorities have identified the 71-year-old Sheboygan Falls man but are not releasing the name pending notification of family members, said Al Erickson, Department of Natural Resources warden.

Erickson said investigators are waiting on the medical examination report before determining a final cause of death, but they do not suspect any foul play in the accident.

Lt.William Tadych of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office said the DNR is handling the case because it is a water-related incident.

A search was launched for the man after his windsurfing board was found washed up on shore Saturday afternoon along the East Shore of Lake Winnebago. The search lasted approximately 2½ hours and the body was discovered at about 6 p.m. off the shoreline at N7156 Winnebago Drive in the Town of Fond du Lac.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Coast Guard searched the lake on Saturday. Also on the scene were officials from the Department of Natural Resources, a dive team and an EMS rescue crew.

via Windsurfer death under investigation | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com.

Apr

26

APPLETON — High Cliff State Park would more than double in size and get $11.3 million in upgrades under a proposal by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The draft master plan calls for the addition of 1,820 acres to the 1,195-acre park on the northeast shore of Lake Winnebago. Its boundaries would extend to Wisconsin 55 to the east and Calumet County Park to the south if the state acquires the additional land — which is in the hands of more than 100 landowners — at an estimated cost of about $9.1 million.

High Cliff, one of the state’s smaller parks, is Wisconsin’s fifth busiest, bringing in about 417,000 visitors annually, said Carolyn Morgen, park superintendent.

“What happens is the property just gets used a lot, it gets loved a lot,” Morgen said. “We would love to be able to expand and offer people more recreational opportunities.

“It is exciting. We also understand that it is for willing sellers only and it’s going to be a long process.”

The public can hear about the plan and comment on the park’s future at a May 7 meeting at the Sherwood Community Center. The master plan will be submitted to the state’s natural resources board for approval in June, Morgen said. Plans for specific projects will be drawn up once the master plan is approved.

While the park expansion could take years, work on upgrades to the park’s dated infrastructure and facilities could begin soon. Repairs to the park’s showers could start as early as this year, Morgan said.

Other projects, including a $1.5 million expansion of the family campground, will be prioritized based on need and available funds.

Morgen said it likely will take three to five years before bigger projects — such as the estimated $5.5 million marina upgrade — appear on the construction calendar. Funding can hold up the timeline, but projects can be paid for with state dollars, grants and donations, she said.

“I think there is a lot right now, and I think a lot of what happens with High Cliff is going to depend on the economy,” Morgen said. “If we have to wait for state funds, they’ll just get pushed back.”

High Cliff State Park’s last master plan was approved in 1982. It is supposed to be revised every 10 to 15 years once the plan’s goals are met, Morgen said.

The draft master plan calls for High Cliff to share a border with Calumet County Park and offers options to connect the two parks if complete land acquisition does not occur.

Frank Wasdovitch, Calumet County Parks Department director, said plans to connect the two parks through a trail system have been in the works for about a decade, but have stalled in recent years.

“We think it would be beneficial for both parks to be connected so there is an off-road type trail so people could safely go between the two parks,” Wasdovitch said.

The park’s northern neighbors are optimistic that plans for park expansion and improvements would increase business in Sherwood, said Village President Jim Rath. A portion of the state park is within the village’s boundaries, he said.

“We hope to have visitors spend more time and become a true destination for the people visiting High Cliff State Park,” said Rath, who plans to attend the May 7 meeting to learn more about the proposals. “The park is a treasured asset of the area.”

 

Park master plan proposes doubling High Cliff’s size, millions in upgrades | Green Bay Press Gazette | greenbaypressgazette.com.

Apr

11

WBAY

Lake Winnebago – Swift and quiet, massive shoves of ice piled up onto the western shores of Lake Winnebago Tuesday — a natural event so phenomenal to witness, lakefront homeowner Michael Paulson couldn’t believe his eyes.

“I was looking out of that window getting a fork out of the drawer, and all of sudden I saw ice going through the yard where I’ve never seen ice before,” Paulson described. “The amazing part is, it wasn’t making any noise, silent.”

It took just five minutes for northeast winds gusting at nearly 40 miles an hour to propel the ice from water to land, stacking chunks up to thirty feet high in some spots and invading properties.

“Well it’s scary when it comes up because you don’t know how far the ice is going to come,” says Richard Mason, who’s lived on Lake Winnebago for more than 70 years.

But what’s so incredible about this event is not just how far the ice traveled but how dense and thick it is. Neighbors say normally it’s much more brittle.

A bench ripped out of the ground, a pergola knocked sideways, and boat decks snapped like twigs are among the casualties that will need to be taken care of.

“The damage is probably several thousand dollars on my property, but if you look to either side of me you can see my misery is shared with my neighbors,” says Bob Thom of Neenah.

While ice shoves may be common in this area, no one has ever seen anything like this. And until it all melts, there’s plenty of ice. They’re happy to share.

“Anybody needs free ice, we have lots of free ice. Help yourselves,” says Thom.

 

Massive Ice Shoves Descend Upon Lakeside Homes – WBAY.

Mar

26

APPLETON — If you’re concerned about zebra mussels, boat landing fees, walleyes, algae blooms or swimmer’s itch that can accompany a dip in Lake Winnebago, a new five-county collaborative wants to hear from you.

Backed by a $50,000 matching grant from the Department of Natural Resources, the group is in the first phase a project to protect all aspects of the system that connects Lake Winnebago to Lake Poygan, Lake Winneconne, Lake Butte des Morts and parts of the Fox and Wolf rivers.

The five counties — Calumet, Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Waushara and Winnebago — hope to build on local public feedback to identify key issues with the Winnebago System.

“Usually a government entity comes up with a proposal and then you have to respond to it,” said Mike Lizotte, president of the Winnebago Lakes Council. “This way, we might go about identifying threats to the system, or just gather a public wish list.”

The group has an interactive Web portal designed to gather feedback with surveys and discussion boards at winnegabowaterways.com. So far, invasive species, algae blooms, water quality and boating fees have attracted the most attention.

A series of public meetings also will gather input from fishermen, boaters and others who use the system. The Appleton meeting is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Atlas Coffee Mill, 425 W. Water St.

Lizotte said not all suggestions will result in expensive, publicly funded projects.

“I hope somebody has some brilliant idea that doesn’t cost a lot of money and we can use it as a way to work together,” Lizotte said. “The real benefit from this may come in working together and trusting each other in our mutual interests.”

Julie Schmelzer, director of resource management for Calumet County, said the project could lead to broader recognition of the 132,000-acre Lake Winnebago that supplies water to more than 250,000 residents.

“Locally, people view the lake as a good recreation source for fishing, but the water quality might have hurt other opportunities for swimming and other activity,” she said. “We have one of the largest inland lakes in the country and it could continue to bring us economic opportunities, but not if we don’t deal with water quality, invasive plants and blue green algae together.”

After the data-gathering, the team will filter through the material.

via ‘Winnebago Waterways’ aims at protecting lakes | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com.

Dec

28

WBAY

Firefighters are warning people, to be alert for changing ice conditions.

Many departments are also preparing equipment and conducting practice drills.

As temperatures drop, the crowd of fishermen on Lake Winnebago is expected to rise, even as firefighters survey conditions from the shoreline- as they prepare equipment for the possibility of a busy winter.

“There’s always a hazard when you go out onto the ice. Weather conditions, changing temperatures, just different thicknesses, a lot of factors come into play that cause us a lot of concern, this time of the year,” said Chief Al Auxier, of the Neenah-Menasha Fire Dept.

On January 23rd Neenah-Menasha firefighters plan to hold an ice safety presentation- to better educate the public.

Last winter- the department established a dive team, although an active fund raising effort is still underway, to cover the start up cost of 90 thousand dollars.

Dive team member Chris Ederer, said, “Speed is everything. If we can get to the victim, fast enough, we can possibly revive the victim. The faster you get to them, the better off they might be.”

So far firefighters in Neenah- Menasha haven’t responded to any ice rescue calls, but it’s a situation that could dramatically change, with the slightest warm up.

Which is why every effort is being made to inspect equipment, and conduct life like training drills.

Auxier said, “Mother nature has a big part in this, as to how things go, as far as how much ice is out there, to make it somewhat safe for people venture out on the lake. People with more experience, are going to be a little more successful and hopefully the people that don’t have much experience, will stay off the ice.”

 

 

 

Firefighters Prepare for Ice Danger – WBAY.

Nov

5

Residents in Fond du Lac, Calumet, Outagamie, Waushara and Winnebago counties will be asked to participate in upcoming stakeholder sessions to talk about issues that affect the Lake Winnebago System.

Calumet County, working with the neighboring counties, was recently awarded a $50,000 grant by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to begin the process, which will include surveys, focus groups and meetings.

The public and focus group meetings are tentatively scheduled for late December and early January and will be held throughout the project area to accommodate Winnebago System users. Online surveys will also be available.

Many issues affect Lake Winnebago, including blue green algae, invasive species, weeds, varying boat launch fees and a general overall lack of coordination to address matters of concern.

Although the DNR, non-profit organizations and conservation groups have done their best to address specific issues, there lacks an overall lakewide approach to managing Lake Winnebago and the pool lakes that comprise the Winnebago System.

The Lake Winnebago System includes the waters and surrounding watersheds of Winnebago, Butte de Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan lakes, encompasses four counties, four cities, four villages and 20 towns, and has economic and health impacts on municipalities further downstream in Outagamie County.

• To receive notification of the surveys or meetings, send contact information to: santry.danielle@co.calumet.wi.us.

via Lake Winnebago may get some help | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com.

Oct

30

NEENAH — A kayaker who fell into Lake Winnebago’s frigid waters Thursday afternoon was picked up by a rescue boat and taken to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah.

Kevin Kloehn of Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue said the man launched his boat at the end of E. Wisconsin Avenue and was about a mile offshore when he fell into the water due to high waves created by strong winds on the lake.

The man was in the 55-degree water for about 25 minutes before he dialed 911 on a dying cell phone around 1:50 p.m., Kloehn said. Rescue crews tracked the man’s position using the GPS on his phone.

Hyperthermia was starting to set in by the time crews reached his location, he said.

Kloehn did not know how the man’s phone was able to function in the water.

via Rescue crews save Lake Winnebago kayaker | The Oshkosh Northwestern | thenorthwestern.com.

Sep

6

There is a petition submitted to the Oshkosh city council to make the Fox River slow-no-wake from the Butte-des-mortes bridge to Lake Winnebago (all of Oshkosh). This would roughly triple the current slow-no-wake distance.

If this concerns you, there is a preliminary meeting Monday at 6:00 to talk about it. The petition is being presented to the City Council at 6:00 Monday Sept 10th.  This is a preliminary meeting held by the parks dept. Oshkosh city hall room 410. With enough opposition, the issue might be killed right there. Please be there!  (Note correction to meeting time and location.)

Please get involved.

For more information and discussion on this please see the following forum post:  http://www.boatingwinnebago.com/forums/navigation-and-safety/proposal-to-extend-slow-no-wake-to-entire-fox-river-in-oshkosh/

Sep

4

PIPE— One person was injured Sunday when a boat caught fire and sank in the Lake Winnebago entrance to the channel leading into Columbia Park.

According to police scanner reports, a caller told the dispatcher around 3:50 p.m. that a boat in the mouth of the channel was on fire and that all people on board had evacuated before it sank.

One person on the 19 1/2-foot boat sustained burns and was advised to seek medical treatment.

The owner of the boat, Steve Schoepke of Fond du Lac, said the engine backfired and burst into flames. Schoepke described the boat as a 1977 Checkmate jet boat.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department towed the damaged boat out of the channel and over to where a large crane from Whealon’s Towing of Fond du Lac could retrieve it from the water.

Columbia Park is located on the east shore of Lake Winnebago at N10340 Calumet Harbor Road west of Pipe. The park contains boat slips and a launching area, as well as a harbor wall used to dock boats.

 

Oshkosh – The Winnebago County Sheriff Department responds to a boating accident on the Fox River near the Wisconsin Street bridge in Oshkosh on Saturday afternoon. According to scanner reports, one person was injured when the boat struck an object in the water.

Aug

28

Riverwalk is proceeding on schedule.

The first concrete walk was placed last week. The entire walkway from the hotel to the east side of center court should be finished in the next three weeks or so and then the installation of docks in that area will commence.

Demolition along the Beckets seawall will commence after Labor Day.

The new center court landscaping plan is close to being finalized. Additional trees, plantings and benches will be incorporated. The existing pavers will be removed and concrete will be poured. During this time, center court will be closed to the public. We anticipate the relandscaping of center court to occur sometime in October.

Again, please remember to stay away from the construction zone/water and do not go past any fence or barricade line. Work will continue most of the winter (weather depending). The City will be performing water/sewer line work for the hotel at the intersection of Ceape and Commerce sometime in the near future.

Deb Fenzl
CITY CENTER
334 CITY CENTER
OSHKOSH, WI 54901
920-233-5050

Jul

24

WINNEBAGO COUNTY – A warning has been put out for people swimming in Lake Winnebago.

Winnebago County health officials say some people got sick after swimming in the lake during the July 4th holiday. Several cases of a strain of E. coli illness were reported among people who were swimming in the area of “The Streichs,” a popular sandbar on the lake’s west shore just north of Streich Lane in the town of Black Wolf.

According to the health department, E. coli infections can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and mild fever. Most people recover in about a week, but some infections can be life-threatening.

Health officials say swimmers should be aware of shallow and stagnant areas, which can pose higher risks. Swimmers should be careful not to get any lake water in their mouths. Children who might accidentally swallow lake water should not be allowed to swim in the lake. Officials say swimmers should also avoid using the lake as a toilet and wash their hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom. Boaters should also not dispose of any human waste in recreational waterways.

The danger of E. coli is just the latest to be associated with the lake. Blue-green algae, which can make people and animals sick, has already been reported in the lake

via E. coli reported in Lake Winnebago, July 2012.

Jul

18

This is a reminder / notice of the temporary security zone on Lake Winnebago for EAA Air Venture. This security zone is Monday July 23rd through Sunday July 29th from 8AM to 8PM every day.

This is a no entry zone, patrolled by the USCG. The purpose of this no entry zone is to facilitate the takeoff and landing of sea planes during EAA’s Air Venture. The zone is usually very clearly marked with large orange buoys.


View EAA Security Zone in a larger map

Below is an excerpt from the USCG “Code of Federal Regulations.”

61) EAA Airventure; Oshkosh WI.
(i) Location. All waters of Lake Winnebago bounded by a line drawn from 43°57 30″ N 088°30 00″ W; then south to 43°56 56″ N 088°29 53″ W then east to 43°56 40″ N 088°28 40″ W; then north to 43°57 30″ N 088°28 40″ W; then west returning to the point of origin NAD 83 .

(ii) Enforcement date and time. The last complete week of July, beginning Monday and ending Sunday; from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

via Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:.

Jul

2

TOWN OF MENASHA — A 21-year-old Hortonville man was injured early Sunday when a recreational boat struck an anchored fishing boat on Lake Winnebago.

Matthew Parafiniuk was transported to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Lt. Gordon Ledioyt of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department said Anthony Capener, 29, of the Town of Menasha was operating a 23-foot recreational boat at 1:30 a.m. when he hit a 16-foot fishing boat occupied by Parafiniuk and Joshua Jackson, 27, of Grand Chute.

Ledioyt said Capener was unable to see the fishing boat because of rainy, stormy conditions.

“It is suspected that the fishing boat did not have the proper lighting on it,” Ledioyt said. “The incident is still under investigation.”

via Fisherman injured in two-boat crash on Lake Winnebago | Appleton Post Crescent | postcrescent.com.

Jun

20

The DNR will be cracking down on drunken boaters this weekend.

Wardens will be out on Wisconsin waters Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign.

The legal blood-alcohol level limit is 0.08, the same as for driving cars.

During last year’s Operation Dry Water, the DNR says patrols spent 1,684 hours, contacting 1,870 boaters. There were 14 arrests for boating under the influence, along with 162 other citations and 599 more warnings.

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard.

via DNR targeting drunken boaters June 22-24, 2012.