A Letter to the Editor in the May 20, 2008, Tomahawk Leader:
Dear Neighbors, Fellow Rice Reservoir Landowners:
Many people have been inspired by the beauty and serenity of the great Wisconsin Northwoods. … This is called God’s Country for a reason. So, in December 2003, my Bridge Lake home became my primary residence.
My search for Bridge Lake’s lake association led me to the Lake Nokomis Concerned Citizens (LNCC), which I joined. It was important for me to keep updated on current lake issues. In 2004, invasive species threats such as rusty crayfish, purple loosestrife and Eurasian water milfoil (EWM) were just emerging. Now, EWM threatens to take over several areas on the Rice Reservoir. ... Left untreated, EWM will destroy native water plants and animals (and) render the water useless for recreational activities. LNCC is the only group actively and effectively fighting invasive species on the Rice Reservoir. Monetary donations from residents, community and grants from the state help fund this fight. However, the weed grows faster than it can be controlled. The biggest effect on riparian landowners will be lower property values.
Recently, LNCC sent a petition and letter detailing the creation of a new lake district for the Rice Reservoir (Lake Nokomis, Bridge and Deer Lake channel). The arguments were enlightening and persuasive. However, questions lingered about how this organization would operate, how much it would cost me, and how my property would be represented. So, I went to an LNCC board meeting for answers.
The district will have five to seven commissioners. Oneida County and the town of Nokomis will appoint one each. The towns of Bradley and Little Rice will be represented along with three others. At the annual meeting, district members (owners of land on and very near, Lake Nokomis and Bridge Lake) determine the composition of and elect candidates to the board of commissioners. This board carries out the wishes of the district members. Members also vote on an agenda and budget for the next year. A fee based on district needs and member approval can change yearly. The fee appears on your annual property tax bill but is used only by the lake district for the issues decided upon by members.
At first I was skeptical. Not any more. There is a small group of people dedicated to keeping the Rice Reservoir beautiful and safe (but) their goals cannot be accomplished due to community apathy and limited funds. The efforts of David Nycz and others have limited EWM effects. Clearly, the fight must continue and expand! Your help is needed.
We, the riparian landowners and our off-water neighbors, need to band together and manage the problems nature and visitors bring to our lakes. … A tax-deductible lake district fee, imposed by the landowners themselves, will fairly spread the costs of maintaining our lake’s beauty and land values. Every lake district property (and owner) will benefit by district actions on important lake issues (such as invasive species, dam maintenance, water levels, the fishery) and suffer if no action is taken.
Read the information. Ask questions. Get involved. … Your support for this new lake district will keep the Rice Reservoir a true gem of the Northwoods.