Shoreland Use – New State Guidelines

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Carol Miller @ 1:03 pm

Sawyer County Lakes Forum Fall Meeting to Hear Wisconsin State Guidelines for Shoreland Use

The Sawyer County Lakes Forum Fall Meeting, Saturday morning, September 15th, at the Comfort Suites in Hayward, will address the interpretation and understanding of how NR 115 and Act 170 (the new Wisconsin State guidelines) are to be applied to shoreland use. Zoning and Conservation Administrator, Dale Olson, and Zoning and Sanitation Technician, Jay Kozlowski, will be the featured presenters.

Currently there is confusion and anxiety about the meaning and interpretation of recent legislation. Many would like to hear just how counties plan to interpret and administer guidelines for shoreland use. Is it possible to have a clear and understandable explanation of what the standards now are?

Simply put, as Dale Olson says, “our only job is protecting the environment from people, and people from each other.” But now we have new legislative rules. The problem for understanding how the new regulations are to be applied is that “it’s all the way you interpret the rules,” but “we have had little to no guidance,” as Dale points out. He admits that “we are sort of leading the league on this.” Other counties will be viewing what we do here in Sawyer County.

Jay Kozlowski notes that now “counties cannot be more restrictive” than State guidelines. Act 170 “is the floor and the ceiling.” Ironically, “3/4 of the official ordinance is ours—even the font” that the official guidelines used! But the basic question remains—how does this new State guideline affect Sawyer County’s Shoreland-Wetland Protection plan.

Act 170 came out of Senate Bill 472 in 2011. Dale points out that “they reinterpreted it so now it’s only germane to non-conforming structures.” “What Act 170 did was remove home rule from counties,” and he adds, “so now it’s the same (a flat rule) for everybody—everyone is on the same” standing with no difference regardless of where you are in the state, what your environmental conditions may be and what the values of people in the county are.

Senate Bill 472 states that “under current law, a county must enact a shoreland zoning ordinance for all shorelands in its unincorporated area and the ordinance must meet shoreland zoning standards established by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by rule.” Bill 472 “also provides that DNR may not establish a shoreland zoning standard, and a county may not enact or enforce a shoreland zoning ordinance, that prohibits the construction of a structure or building on certain lots, parcels, or tracts (lots).” Under the bill, “a shoreland zoning standard or ordinance may not prohibit the construction of a structure or a building on a lot that does not meet minimum area and width requirements if the lot met those requirements when the lot was originally created or if there was no shoreland zoning standard or ordinance in effect that established minimum area and width requirements when the lot was originally created.”
Bill 472 further states that “generally under current law, zoning restrictions that would otherwise apply to a damaged or destroyed nonconforming structure may not prohibit, subject to a number of conditions, the restoration of the structure if it will be restored to the size, location, and use it had before the damage or destruction occurred, unless the size must be larger to comply with state or federal requirements.” The bill goes on to state that “in addition, and subject to the same conditions, the restrictions in the zoning ordinance may not impose limits on the costs of the repair, reconstruction, or improvement of the structure.” And “the conditions that apply to the restrictions in the zoning ordinance are as follows:
1. The structure must have been damaged or destroyed after March 1, 2006.
2. The structure must have been damaged or destroyed by violent wind, vandalism, fire, flood, ice, snow, mold, or infestation.”

Under this bill, “a zoning ordinance may not prohibit, or limit based on cost, the repair, maintenance, reconstruction, renovation, or remodeling of a nonconforming structure in existence on the effective date of a zoning ordinance that relates to that structure.”

This meeting at the Comfort Suites in Hayward is open to the public, and representatives from all the lake associations in Sawyer County will be in attendance. The agenda starts with registration at 8:30 a.m. and call to order is at 9:00. The agenda includes reports on significant actions taken by the Sawyer County Lakes Forum Board, strategic planning for the coming year, election of officers for 2013, legislative initiatives, assistance to lake associations and coordination with all northwest Wisconsin county lake forums. And we’ll introduce our new web master, Martin Hanson. The Forum’s website is www.SawyerCountyLakesForum.org.

Presentation and discussion of the changes in the new Wisconsin State guidelines will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. by Dale Olson, Land and Water Conservation and Zoning Administrator. Jay Kozlowski, Zoning and Sanitation Technician. A round table open discussion will follow, and setting dates and places for 2012 meetings will conclude the Forum’s meeting.


Volunteer Help Needed – Buoys

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Carol Miller @ 11:17 am

Joe Kehoe is looking for volunteers to assist with removing buoys in the fall and putting them in place in the spring on Big Chetac. The locations are 1 buoy at the sandbar and 2 buoys at the rock pile in the bullpen.

If you would like to volunteer please contact Joe at: jdkehoe@gmail.com or 715-497-9133.


2012 Annual Potluck and Raffle to be held Saturday, August 11th at Doolittle Park

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Carol Miller @ 2:36 pm

The Big Chetac and Birch Lakes Association will hold its annual picnic Saturday, August 11, 2012, starting at 3 PM at Doolittle Park, Birchwood.

Sloppy Joes and table service will be provided. Water and pop will be available. Please bring a covered dish to share.

Come and enjoy the raffle and silent auction.

Annual membership, June 1, 2012 to June 1, 2013 is: single membership $20, couple membership $35. Dues can be mailed to PO Box 33, Birchwood, WI 54817.

The purpose of the Big Chetac and Birch Lakes Association is to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the lakes resources and to promote cooperation and proper use of its resources for property owners, visitors, residents of the surrounding communities and future generations.

Contact: BCABLA
PO Box 33
Birchwood WI 54817
Sandy Raby, 715-354-7063


DNR Plan for Walleye Stocking of Big Chetac

This email dated 5/15/12 from Max Wolter, Fisheries Biologist at the Wisconsin DNR outlines his proposal for walleye stocking of Big Chetac:

“This summer I plan to change our stocking request for Lake Chetac FROM an every other (odd) year stocking rotation of 1-2″ fish at 35/acre TO an EVERY year stocking of 6-8″ extended growth fish at 5/acre.

Notes on this:
• We have a lot of faith that these extended growth fish are the way to go. We appear to be having good survival of them on some of our other water bodies. From what I gathered during our meeting you guys are on the same page with that.
• I would next like to mention that this is a stocking REQUEST, whether it can be met or not depends on a variety of things. We are instructed to request what we would like, not what we think the hatchery can provide. For Lake Chetac we want 5/acre EG walleye and that is what I am requesting and willing to fight for when the opportunity comes up. There may be times this request cannot be met, but I cannot speak to that likelihood at this time.
• This change will not go into effect until 2013. Because Chetac was only listed as an every other (odd) year lake in the previous stocking rotation walleye will not be stocked by us this year. BUT, I will quickly and enthusiastically approve any stocking requests by your organization for 2012 for walleye at or around these densities I have mentioned if funding is available.”

One of the issues raised by the DNR with respect to the effectiveness of the walleye stocking program deals with bass predation. Large mouth bass feed on small walleye. Using larger walleye in the stocking program will increase the effectiveness of the program. Catching and keeping more large mouth bass will also increase the effectiveness of the program. The current minimum size limit for large mouth bass is 14”. (The state has approved removal of the size limit – this change may take effect as early as next spring!) YOU CAN HELP!


Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference Comes to Spooner June 22

A note from Paul Schwister, Director: Sawyer County Lake Forum, Member: North West Wisconsin Lakes Conference, planning committee.

Make your plans now to attend the 2012 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference, which will be held this year on Friday, June 22 in Spooner at the Spooner High School. This regional event has become one of the state’s premier lake conferences. The all day program will again be a great opportunity for lake enthusiasts, local government officials and others interested in protecting our water resources to take in a number of educational presentations, visit many informative exhibits and network with fellow conference attendees.

Two keynote speakers will be featured at the conference. Dave Zentner, twice named National Conservationist of the Year, will lead off the morning with presentation titled, “Citizen Conservation During Divisive Political Times.” Dave is a retired business owner, avid outdoorsman, who loves hunting and fishing, and past national president of the Izaak Walton League and a lead proponent in the establishment of Voyageurs National Park.

In the afternoon, award winning author, naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela will give a talk on “Fascinating Loons.” Stan has written and photographed over a hundred state-by-state field guides and other books on nature. He also has a nationally syndicated NatureSmart Column that takes an in-depth look at animals, plants and nature in general, as well as lots of Gee-Whiz Nature Stuff. You won’t want to miss Dave’s and Stan’s presentations.

Conference breakout sessions will cover a wide array of lake-related topics and issues, including: communicating your lake message, lake education projects, motivating lake volunteers, aquatic plants, coalition and collaboration building, connecting youth to water, lake science and state of our lakes, invasive aquatic plant management, lake legislative updates, utilizing student researchers, understanding developmental impacts on water quality, and wild rice.

The registration fee is $40, which includes: admission, program materials, a continental breakfast and lunch. Students, both high school and college, can attend free of charge, but need to indicate the school/college they attend on the conference registration form.

For more information or to register, contact Wisconsin Lakes at 1-800-542-5253 in Wisconsin or (608) 661-4313 or go online at www.wisconsinlakes.org. For more detailed information on the conference program and speakers, contact John Haack at (715) 635-7406 or john.haack@ces.uwex.edu. or click below to view the event brochure.

Northwest Wisconsin Lake Conference Brochure


DNR Hires New Fish Manager for Sawyer County

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Carol Miller @ 9:05 am

Mr. Max Wolter has been hired by the Wisconsin DNR to serve as the fishery biologist for Sawyer County. Max starts his new job at DNR’s Hayward Service Center on April 9, 2012, replacing long-time fish manager Frank Pratt, who retired in January of 2011.

Max graduated with honors in 2009 from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fisheries and Water Resources. By April 4, 2012, he will have completed all the requirements for a Master of Science Degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology at the University of Illinois at Champaign, where he excelled academically while working under some of the best fishery ecologists in the country. Max did his thesis research on the growth and survival of different stocks of muskellunge in native and introduced environments. Lately he has been investigating the escapement of muskellunge through dams.

Max brings a wealth of relevant training and experience essential to meeting angler expectations in a resource-rich county with a tourism-based economy that includes 94 publicly accessible lakes (48,852 surface acres), 181 miles of trout stream, and 125 miles of warm water stream on seven floatable, fishable rivers. Major assignments will include monitoring fish populations of lakes and streams, writing reports and management plans, recommending appropriate fishing regulations and fish stockings for public waters, coordinating habitat improvement projects, issuing permits for fishing tournaments and fish stockings in private waters, working with the media and various stakeholder groups, and continuing programs to educate and involve young people in aquatic ecology and fishing.

Experiences that should help Max to meet these challenges include teaching lake and stream fish sampling techniques to undergraduate students at Stevens Point; capturing, tagging, and radio-tracking sturgeon in the Yellowstone River in Montana; sampling and reporting the results of nuisance species control efforts in Illinois lakes; coordinating Dr. David Wahl’s long-term muskellunge stock evaluation study and serving as liaison to the statewide muskie fishing community for the Illinois Natural History Survey; and initiating a kid’s fishing outing while serving as an officer in a Student Subunit of the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

In addition to his extensive work with muskellunge, Max worked on several projects relevant to management issues in Sawyer County. He studied the use of bluegill weight as an indicator of environmental conditions, and he co-authored a scientific journal article on techniques for aging black crappie. He also authored several technical reports published by the Illinois Natural History Survey. His extensive graduate-level training in statistical analysis should help him to meet the many technical challenges faced by today’s fishery managers.

Max is already familiar with some of Sawyer County’s most well-known fisheries. Having grown up in Chippewa Falls and spent summers with his folks at their lake home near Cable, Max has fished the Namekagon River, Chippewa Flowage, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lake Owen, and many other area waters. Working to conserve these world-renowned fishery resources has been a dream of his since high school. In his free time, Max enjoys fishing, canoeing, softball, skiing, and hockey.

According to DNR’s Hayward Field Unit Supervisor, Dave Neuswanger, “We simply could not have asked for a better trained, more capable, or more highly motivated young professional than Max Wolter to steward Sawyer County’s fishery resources into the future. I am absolutely thrilled to bring him to Hayward, and I look forward to introducing him to all our valuable partners in the weeks and months ahead.” Neuswanger added, “You may want to give Max a couple months to get his feet on the ground, though, because a probable early ice-out will have our Hayward Fisheries crew busy on the water throughout the months of April and May.”

Starting April 9, Max Wolter can be contacted by phone at the DNR Service Center in Hayward (715-634-9658 x3509) or by e-mail at woltem@wisconsin.gov.


Saturday, February 18, 2012 – 16th Annual Hook & Line Family Ice Fishing Event – 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Lac Courte Oreilles.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Carol Miller @ 10:55 am

The 16th Annual Hook & Line Family Ice Fishing Event is coming up on Saturday, February 18th, from 8 am to 2 pm on Lac Courte Oreilles.

Event registration is at the public landing off Hwy. K.

Event buttons are necessary to qualify for ice Fishing Event Prizes.  Buttons and tickets are available at Hayward Bait & Bottle, Hayward Power Sports, Pastika’s and Outdoor Creations.  Buttons cost $5 for adults and $1 for kids 13-17.  They are free for kids 12 & under (sponsored by Slumberland). 

There will be thousands of dollars in fishing prizes awarded for adults & youth divisions by drawing. 

This annual event is presented by Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin and is also sponsored by S.C.O.P.E., Advance Printing, Midwest Stihl, Leinenkugel’s and the Courte Oreilles lakes Association.


Lake Association Participates in 2011 Birchwood Christmas Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Carol Miller @ 11:35 am

This weekend is the annual Birchwood Christmas Festival. Lake Association President, Bob Reynolds, will be at the Birchwood School from 9 – 2:30 on Sat. Dec. 3 selling Lake Association merchandise and calendars from the Wisconsin Gives Back program.  Pictures of the Lake Association merchandise being sold (hats, t-shirts and sweatshirts) can be found in the Photo Gallery. 

If you are unable to attend the festival you can still order calendars at www.WI-GivesBack.com, click on the Participating Groups link and search for Big Chetac & Birch Lakes Association; or go directly to https://www.wi-givesback.com/products-page/nonprofits/support-the-big-chetac-birch-lakes-association/.

Funds raised by the sale of Lake Association merchandise and Wisconsin Gives Back Calendars will be used by the Association to improve the water quality in Big Lake Chetac and Birch Lakes.


Walleye Stocking-Wed., Oct. 5th 10:30-11:00 at Ol’Hayes Rd. Boat Launch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Carol Miller @ 12:08 pm

Gollon Bait & Fish Farm of Dodgeville, WI is delivering 5,000 extended growth walleye for placement in Big Chetac on Wednesday, October 5th between 10:30 and 11:00 at the Ol’Hayes Road Boat Launch.

Funds for these 6-8” Extended Growth Walleye came from the following funds:
1. Approx $3,200 raised this past summer by the Lake Association
2. $2,070 from the “Don Grant Memorial” fund at Walleyes For Tomorrow
3. $2,000 from Walleyes for Northwest WI
4. The remaining amount will be announced after the stocking on Wednesday.

Anyone interesting is seeing the stocking is welcome to stop by.

To read an interesting article about this event and the efforts to restock Big Chetac with Walleye, click on the Life on the Lake section of this website.


Big Chetac & Birch Lakes Association Participates in Wisconsin Gives Back Event

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Carol Miller @ 8:53 pm

Help support Big Chetac & Birch Lakes Association by buying a beautiful calendar from Wisconsin Gives Back at http://www.wi-givesback.com/?wpsc-product=support-the-big-chetac-birch-lakes-association - STARTING SEPT. 18th.

The Event in a Nutshell:  Buy a calendar of aerial views of Wisconsin and help support your lake association at the same time.  The calendar will be available to purchase on Sept. 18.   The calendar sells for $15, $9 of which is donated back to the Lake Association. 

The calendars can be purchased online (see the link below) or in person at the Christmas Festival in Birchwood.  Directions for purchasing calendars will also be in the next Association Newsletter.

Everyone needs a calendar.  It would make a great Christmas gift.  Please help support this.

If every member buys just one, we can raise over $2,000.00

Go to http://www.wi-givesback.com/?wpsc-product=support-the-big-chetac-birch-lakes-association to purchase a calendar.

Help support those organizations in Wisconsin that are supporting you!

Newer Posts »