A Letter in the Oct. 5, 2010, Tomahawk Leader:
In this day and age, I believe all of us unintentionally take the beauty and uniqueness of our water resources for granted. With the improvements in infrastructure and transportation, along with the continued advancements in technology, we are able to access and use these resources to our liking more quickly. … It’s hard not to get caught up in the rat-race! However, for those of you that either live in or visit the Northwoods, have you ever taken the time to sit near a quiet lake shore and simply absorb the sights, sounds and feel of the serenity? … Yes, leave behind the cell phone, I-pod or whatever other technological gadget you’re dependent on, and just enjoy the tranquility of the water and its surrounding environment. After this short experience, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll be trying to take the time to experience this more often! You’ll also likely gain more of an appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness, as well as the personal benefits, provided by our lakes, rivers and streams.
Unfortunately, along with the benefits associated with the ease of accessibility to these water resources come a number of problems that threaten their integrity, as well as the opportunities and benefits they provide for others to enjoy. Problems such as aquatic invasive species (AIS), improper shoreline development and pollution, are a few that have the ability to quickly degrade these deceivingly sensitive environments. Therefore, it is critical that we, as users and beneficiaries of these water resources, respect them, and do what we can to protect, and if necessary, try to restore them. Their sustenance is directly connected to our livelihoods here in the Northwoods.
Fortunately for us, as water resource users and beneficiaries, there are lake organizations. Lake organizations (associations and districts) consist of dedicated men and women willing to invest their efforts (time and money) to assure a long-lasting commitment to the protection and enhancement of local water resources, of which we all benefit from. I would encourage anyone, especially those that are fortunate enough to either have waterfront property and/or live near a waterbody, to join and support a local lake organization. If for nothing else, support them because their work helps to protect your pocketbooks! Yes, know that your property values are greatly affected by the health of the water in your surrounding area. In my position, I can honestly say that I’ve received phone calls from individuals interested in purchasing property, asking about the problem of aquatic invasive species on a particular waterbody, and what’s being done about it. So if you think that contributing a few dollars annually to local lake management efforts is unnecessary, think again!
For those of you that don’t live on or near a waterbody, but enjoy the benefits they provide, you should also consider joining a lake organization, support their efforts, and avoid harmful actions (e.g. using unclean equipment that potentially transports invasive species or harmful fish viruses, polluting, etc.). Thank you, and thank your local lake organization by getting involved in their efforts!
Oneida County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator