Deer Lake District News

Tomahawk, Wisconsin
May 2012 No. 13

Final Deer Lake Study Report to be Discussed at Annual Meeting
The final report and recommendations of the Deer Lake study, conducted by Onterra, will be a major topic of discussion at this year’s annual meeting to be held Saturday, May 26 at the River Valley Bank. In addition to a variety of other reports, there will be a commissioner election as well as a special presentation on managing shoreline erosion by Diane Hanson, conservationist for the Lincoln County Land Information and Conservation Dept. (continued on page 2)

Annual Deer Lake District Meeting
Date: Saturday, May 26, 2012 Time: 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Place: River Valley Bank, 1218 N. 4th St.

Guest Speaker – Diane Hanson Conservationist for the Lincoln County Land Information and Conservation Department on “Current Concepts to Manage Shoreline Erosion” Commissioner reports and budget approval Election of commissioner Discussion of Deer Lake study final report Update on channel meetings Lincoln County Lakes and Rivers Association report Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention report Preliminary findings of 2012 Deer Lake Fish Study

(Continued from front page) The Deer Lake Comprehensive Management Plan, as Onterra’s report is titled, contains a detailed analysis of the lake, its water quality, watershed and aquatic plant composition. Copies of the report and a summary were e-mailed to members of the Deer Lake District in late April and will also be available at the meeting. Report Recommendations The report includes four primary recommendations with regard to Deer Lake: 1. Maintain current water quality conditions. 2. Reduce phosphorus and sediment loads from the shoreline watershed.

3. Control Eurasian watermilfoil. 4. Eliminate low water level within Deer Lake brought on by unnatural occurrences. At the meeting, the recommendations as well as plans for implementation will be discussed. Work is already underway on most of the recommendations but more volunteers will be needed in many areas. Commissioner Election Another important item on the agenda for the upcoming meeting will be the election of a commissioner to fill the seat being vacated by Pat Hefling, who has served a three-year term as secretary.

Channel Issues Discussed with DNR Representatives
A number of representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources met with Deer Lake commissioners Phil Schlachtenhaufen and Mary Cieslak-Duchek on April 19 in Rhinelander. Also attending were Tim Hoyman, founder of Onterra, LLC and the firm’s lead aquatic ecologist; Diane Hanson, conservationist for Lincoln County; and a representative of the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company. The goal of the meeting was to discuss issues related to the channel that connects Deer Lake with Bridge Lake. Of particular concern to residents of Deer Lake are changes in the width and depth of the channel over the years that now affect lake levels, allowing the lake to reach a lower level than in the past. Hoyman reviewed aspects of the current state of the channel and the erosion that has occurred. Though there was general agreement among those who attended the meeting that significant erosion had occurred, members of the DNR pointed to a variety of complex factors that need further assessment in order to develop a remedy for the situation. Since that meeting, Schlachtenhaufen has had further talks with the DNR and with Hanson and is expected to summarize those discussions at the annual meeting.

Another Great Lakes Convention
by Mary Cieslak-Duchek
So once again my “vacation” was spent at the 34th Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention. This three-day event is held annually in Green Bay and draws over 400 scientists, lake owners, and governmental staff. I really enjoy the event because it provides such a great opportunity to take a deep dive (no pun intended) into various lake topics. I meet inspirational lake owners who have protected their lakes or reversed something harmful. The meeting highlights in many ways the partnership that must exist in our state between the government (e.g. the DNR), the scientists who study the entire eco-system (e.g.


the University of Wisconsin) and the lake owners. Many presentations are a blend of scientific information and their application to a particular lake problem. The sessions demonstrate how lake associations and districts work hand in hand to resolve lake issues. To offer one example, I learned how our neighbors just west of us on Squash Lake managed their Eurasian watermilfoil outbreak. Approximately eight acres were successfully removed manually by a group of dive teams that included local fire fighters and lake residents. Through that work they successfully reclaimed the affected area and now have a monitoring program to quickly identify new growth and remove it. Another program described how a community of partners re-created the Dairyland Flowage fish habitat, in Rusk Country, over a five-year period. The project began when the lake was drawn down, providing the opportunity to carefully redesign the lake’s bottom. Numerous trees, boulders, rocks and logs were strategically placed in and around the lake, resulting in the creation of three levels of environments to support fish populations.

As a result, a rapid growth in the number and diversity of the lake’s fish has occurred in just a few years. This project involved numerous agencies, volunteer groups and the dedication of a “retired” DNR warden. The Wisconsin Shoreland Restoration Project presented a candid assessment of the challenges to making restoration simple and effective. Several land owners on Three Lakes in the St. Germaine area have invested in restoration of their buffer zones with various plants, bushes and shoreline stabilizer material. Residents were supported by DNR specialists, students, a nursery specializing in shoreline plants and grant funds. All seemed to be going well until the group encountered a number of problems—deer that loved to munch on the newly plated bushes and the need for continuous watering. So the work continues. To learn more about the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership convention, check out the website: ions/ And consider attending next year’s event, April 17th -20th. The conference is reasonably priced at $200.00 and includes many meals and countless resources.

We Share the Lake… and Its History
Deer Lake is our lake, most would agree. We own the land around it. We maintain not only our properties, but the lake itself. That’s one of the reasons we created the Deer Lake District. But we also know that Deer Lake is not our lake. It’s owned by the citizens of the state and, in that sense, we are but caretakers. But the issue goes deeper. At last summer’s Deer Lake District picnic, Mike Hynan invited lake residents to mark their homes on a map and talk a little about the history of the lake, their families and their properties. It soon became evident that over the decades, the owners of the properties have changed..and they continue to change. And as much

Lauren Leslie-Hynan and Mike Hynan hosted last year’s Labor Day Deer Lake District picnic at their lake home.


as we all hold the lake dear today, it will outlast us all. A recent DNR study showed Deer Lake is well stocked with fish of all sorts It’s a reminder that, if anyone or anything can really lay claim to the lake, it’s the wildlife. It’s the walleye, it’s the loons, it’s the croaking frogs in the bay. In the end, it becomes clear that even if we own property on the lake, none of us are truly owners. We simply share Deer Lake—with those who’ve been here before us, those who will come after us and, more importantly, among all who in some way draw life and energy from the lake— man or woman, adult or child, plant or animal, fish or fowl. The Onterra lake study and its recommendations make a further point. Whether the lake belongs to us or not, it is ours to preserve and as its current stewards, we have a lot of responsibility and a lot of work to do to keep Deer Lake a continuing source of life, fun and lasting beauty.

Deer Lake District Donations

Lake residents marked their homes on a map and described a bit of the history at last year’s picnic.

To make a tax-exempt donation to the Deer Lake District, please complete this form and mail it along with your check to Phil Schlachtenhaufen, N11776 Crystal Lake Road,
Tomahawk, WI 54487. Make checks payable to Deer Lake District. Name(s)_______________________________________________________________________________ Address_______________________________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip_________________________________________________________________________ E-Mail Address______________________________

Enclosed is a check for (Amount) $____________ (Suggested annual amount is $50.)

Deer Lake District Commissioners
Phil Schlachtenhaufen, Chairman N11776 Crystal Lake Road Tomahawk, WI 54487 715-453-9161/ Joan Hilgendorf Bradley Township Representative Pat Hefling, Secretary N11905 Deer Lake Rd. Tomahawk, WI 54487 715-453-0916 Mary Cieslak-Duchek, Treasurer W5362 Wurl Road Tomahawk, WI 54487 262-782-6516

Deer Lake District News Editor
Bob Duchek W5362 Wurl Road Tomahawk, WI 54487 262-782-6516/