Monday, October 31, 2011

Winnebago Pool Lakes Conference

The Winnebago Lakes Council will host the second annual Winnebago Pool Lakes Conference on Saturday, November 5th.  The event will take place 8:45 am to noon at the Fin n’ Feather in Winneconne

The annual meeting of the Council will be held at 9:30 am.  The speakers program will start at 10 am.  Entitled “New Views of Our Lakes and Rivers” the program includes: Diane Schauer on Aquatic Invasive Species Education and Regional Planning; Andrew Sabai on Conservation with a Camera; and Tom Barron on interpreting the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway.

A breakfast buffet is available.  Reservations are not required, but an email to with the number of people planning to attend is appreciated.

The Winnebago Lakes Council promotes the long-term sustainability of Lakes Winnebago, Butte des Morts, Winneconne, and Poygan and their connecting rivers. Learn more at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Page's Slough Plant Survey

Dense vegetation in Page's Slough

Page’s Slough is a backwater of the Wolf River, just upstream on Lake Poygan, but at first glance it looks like it drains directly into the lake.  Like most things on the Winnebago System, Page’s Slough is big, about 139 acres.  Essentially it is a shallow water lake.  This big backwater is managed for fish and wildlife habitat.  In the past the slough has had an abundant population of curly-leaf pond weed, an invasive species, and early this summer it was observed to be abundant.  It was feared native plants would be hurt.  Curly-leaf pondweed is different than our native vegetation in that it begins to grow in fall, comes on strong in the spring and early summer, and begins to die back in late June, or early July.  If it came on strong then it might have strangled the native vegetation. 

The Demented Gardener
On a nice day in late August I’m there with Art Techlow, DNR, and my wife and note taker Rebecca.  I stand at the bow with a modified garden rake in hand, looking like some kind of demented gardener.  The rake  is metal, with two sets of teeth back to back, and has an eight foot metal pole.  Art pilots the boat from one predetermined GPS point to another, and I drop the rake down, spin it around and 93% of the time I pull up a green spaghetti of aquatic plants in muck sauce.  Most of the plants are coontail and Canadian waterweed (Elodea); these aren't particularly good plants for waterfowl in themselves, but they feed and hide millions of insects, crustaceans, and small fish relished by the birds.  Page’s Slough is packed with vegetation, the vast majority of it native.  Since this is only an observational study and not an experiment I can’t say much for sure.  All I know is that this year’s abundant curly-leaf pondweed seems to have had little negative impact, no impact, or an undetermined positive impact on the abundance of native vegetation.  In any case it is good for this lake…I mean slough.