The purpose of Oconto County Lakes & Waterways Association shall be to promote the conservation and preservation of all lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs in Oconto County, the shorelines surrounding them, and the ecologically sound and environmentally safe development on or near these waters.
In early 1999 Rob Burke, Oconto County Community Development Educator, saw the need for classification of all county lakes to insure reasonable and environmentally safe development. Classification allows the county to determine zoning by taking into account local preferences, ecology of specific lakes, and the degree of development already taken place. Rob's vision was the creation of a county lake association composed of members of all individual lake organizations to work with the county to apply for a DNR grant to fund the classification.
In July 1999, Rob and Tom Milheiser, County Conservationist, assembled a group of lake representatives at a meeting to elect officers and create bylaws to govern the new association. Oconto County Lakes & Waterways Association was the adopted name, and a slate of officers was chosen. Charter lake representatives came from Inland Lakes P&R District #1 Townsend, Bass Lake, Maiden Lake, White Potato Lake Sportsmen's Club, Wheeler Lake, Little Archibald Lake, White Potato Lake, Crooked Lake, and the Machickanee Flowage. Charter officers were: President Erv Limberg, Vice-president Mick Gillaume, Secretary Judie Gowaski, Treasurer Dick Hiebing; the board of directors included Tim Ottem, Jerry Eckes, and Merle Nilles. One of the first projects of the association was to join the Wisconsin Association of Lakes in support of legislation to establish a mercury emissions cap and reduction schedule. A multitude of projects followed: the county cost-share program for shoreline restoration. On November 13, 1999 Rob Burke announced the County Board had approved $60,000 to fund the lake classification project, scheduled to begin in May 2000. By April 2000 the number of member organizations had grown to 15 with the addition of Chute Lake P&R District #1, Moody Lake, Archibald Lake, Sunrise Lake, Waubee Lake, and Grindle Lake. By this time several committees had been formed, including a Law Enforcement committee, Shoreline Preservation Committee, a committee to lobby for the formation of a municipal court for northern Oconto County, and a website formation committee. Several other projects were completed successfully, including the Moody Lake junkyard issue and the creation of the Paya Lake Association, formed for law enforcement purposes including boating speed.
The Association continued moving ahead with more projects: creation of an ad hoc committee of the county board to begin lake classification, and the hiring of Troy Sherman as the new Law Enforcement Officer for county lakes and waterways, the creation of a "Train The Trainers" project to hold the DNR's Clean Boats/Clean Waters workshops, and Specialist position, which ended with a grant to hire Amanda Strick as an AIS Coordinator for a period of three years.
Following two years of meetings where each lake in Oconto County was studied, a formal document was drawn up and presented to the county board.
OCLAWA looks forward to working with Amanda Strick and Ken Dolata and all the lake and river organizations to continue fulfilling its mission of enhancing and preserving all waterways in this beautiful county.
**Special Note: Applications are accepted throughout the year for Early Detection & Response and Research & Demonstration projects.
If you are interested in applying for this program, please visit the DNR's website: http://dnr.wi.gov/Aid/AIS.html.
If you are interested in joining OCLAWA, please contact one of our members for more information.
Zebra Mussel Monitoring Platforms and Rusty Crayfish Traps are available to lake groups who are interested in monitoring.
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator
Oconto County Land Conservation Department
Phone: (920) 834-7155
We have made it easier to apply for CBCW volunteers through the Lean Six-Sigma, which is an improvement method using data to identify and eliminate process problems, which streamlines the grant process. Here is some information about the new program http://wisconsinlakes.org/index.php/latest-policy-updates/107-leangovttocleanlakes.
To apply for a CBCW program, click on this link Clean Boats Clean Waters Project Funding Request & Agreement (Form 8700-337).