Lilly Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District

Rev. 12-Aug-2017 Back to Home

May 6, 2017 meeting summary

The spring meeting took place on May 6, 2017, in the Town Hall. Board members present: Bill Glembocki, Andy Lois, Kelly Wilson, and Sheila Siegler. Kathy Aron and roughly 20 residents also attended. Below are brief notes on the main topics that came up during the meeting:

Water Patrol
Wheatland contracted with Salem Lakes for patrolling. Then out of the blue, Salem Lakes decided to dissolve its safety division. The Town Board is now in discussions with Twin Lakes for help with water patrols. Nothing is yet firm.

Water Quality and Clarity
The water level is higher than it's been since Mike Adam first started measuring it in 2011. Currently water clarity and quality are good. The high lake level has not affected them.

Snowplow salt affecting lake?
There were big piles of salt left by plows near the lake. They were near the culvert pipe. All that salt must have washed into the lake. What effect is it having?

It certainly has an impact, but we don't test for salt, only for phosphorus. Everything around the lake washes into it. The plow drivers need some education about minimizing spilled salt on roads nearest the lake. Lake Geneva has rules for minimizing salt in watershed areas. Also, there may be a way to calibrate equipment better. Perhaps we could use a sand-salt mixture on the ring roads.

On the other hand, unsalted roads may pose a traffic hazard, especially on our hills. The Town has to watch out for liability issues.

Fish stocking
Some big Northern Pike were put into the lake last fall. They looked wiggly and healthy. The supplier could not fulfill all of the order. Some time this year (probably in the fall), the rest of the pike will be put into the lake. Details are available on our Facebook page ( and on the Town web site (

Weed Treatment
Most lakes are seeing a slow start to weed treatment this year because of the rainy and cool weather. Luckily the weeds don't grow fast in this weather. The permits are all in order for chemical treatment to be done. The only question is when conditions will be right. The milfoil must be actively growing to absorb the weed killer.

Marine Biochemists surveyed the lake again last fall (it's been several years since the last survey) to determine the most effective ways to deploy the treatments.

There are some deep pockets of milfoil, but native plants are holding it in check, which is a good thing because weeds in deep water are more expensive to treat.

There's also the decision to make about spot treatments vs whole-lake treatment. Whole-lake costs more to do and involves more DNR management. For now, spot treatment is sufficient. There are some mucky areas on the west side of the lake that have particularly thick patches of weeds. Swimming and stomping it out are good ways to slow it down. Home owners can rake out the weeds in front of their homes.

Starry Stonewort is still spreading. It's very invasive and very difficult to get rid of. The best way to keep it from coming to Lilly Lake is to keep watercraft clean.

Is Wheatland going to merge with some other entity the way Salem and Silver Lake did?
There's never been even a hint of a merger. We don't have any riches that other towns want. A lot of Wheatland is public land (the New Munster marsh). We have no sewers or other valuable infrastructure. There are no big businesses.

The Lake District is a separate legal entity. Even if Wheatland found someone to merge with, the District would still manage Lilly Lake.


August 12, 2017 annual meeting summary

The annual meeting took place on August 12, 2017, in the Town Hall. Board members present: Bill Glembocki, Andy Lois, Kelly Wilson, and Sheila Siegler. Kyle Dangelser, water patrol officer, Kathy Aron, and 22 residents also attended. Below are brief notes on the main topics that came up during the meeting:

Financial Report
Public Comments
The Lily Lake Resort is disturbing the peace. Their loud music goes on till late at night. No one can enjoy any quiet or their own entertainment.

Bill Glembocki will talk to the owners and remind them that the outdoor speakers have to be turned off at 10 PM.

Water Relief Gate
Glembocki contacted the DNR to discuss options. They don't see the idea as practical.
Weed Control
Water Levels & Quality
Mike Adam showed his charts (1 and 2) of water-level readings that he's taken since 2011 and charts of past quality readings.
Set "Cancel SNW" Criterion Now
Can we just set the water level that cancels SNW now? We have this argument every time SNW becomes an issue.
No, we can't vote on it now because it's not on today's agenda. District residents need to know ahead of time what's going to be discussed. Also, the Board has to consult the Town's lawyer.

The Town Board will discuss the issue at its Aug 14 meeting, but right now there are strong liabilities to lifting SNW. E.g., little kids can be swept off the pier or pushed around on the sand by strong waves.

Fish stocking
The next stocking will probably be in November, if the supplier has the fish: approximately 100 ten-to-twelve-inch pike.

Geese have not been much of a problem this year. Right now, they're hanging around to pick up scraps after the wheat harvest.

Water Patrol
Budget for the Next Dredging
Shouldn't we start saving for the next dredging so that the cost won't hit everyone so hard?
Yes, we can set up a restricted fund. It's unlikely that there will be federal or State help for a future dredging the way there was for the past dredging.

Beach improvement
The committee is still discussing ideas.

Next year's annual meeting: August 11, 2018

Lake dredging history

What was the problem?

By 1970, the process of vegetation decay had filled the lake with muck to the point where the maximum water depth was 6 ft. Weeds were rampant. Underlying organic sediment was 30 to 35 ft deep. Some spots were so shallow that you could not run a motor boat. Activities like fishing and water skiing were very limited, and the experience was low quality. Winter fish kills caused dead, smelly fish to wash up on the shore in spring. No one was putting any money into the area. There was a real risk that property values would decline significantly due to the worsening condition of the lake.
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What was the proposed solution?

Studies resulted in a proposal to dredge about 890,000 cubic yards (550 acre-feet, that is, 550 acres to a depth of 1 ft) of sediment out of the lake to increase the depth to about 22 ft. Some of the muck was spread on nearby farm land, but most of it was piped to a modified gravel pit about 2 miles away (off Hwy W, south of F and FR, near the Schwarz Nursery).
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Who was involved in the project?

Don Puchalski led the effort, starting in 1971. He worked with the Town Board, engineering firms, the State, and the federal government. Although the project started out as a local one, new programs initiated at the State and federal levels offered some help with the financing. Changing environmental laws and financing programs delayed project start several times. At one point, the 5-year permit ran out. The government did extensive testing to ensure that the sludge would not harm the environment.

Engineer Associates of Elkhorn tested feasibility, prepared initial plans, and got a permit from the Wisconsin DNR. In 1974, Jensen and Johnson of Elkhorn took over planning and preparation of environmental impact statements. Johnson and Averill of Waukesha completed the design and development of the whole project. Robers Dredge of LaCrosse did the dredging. Mann Brothers of Elkhorn constructed the disposal site.
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When and how was it done?

Dredging occurred over 2 years: July, 1978 through September, 1979. The first year, work started at 6 am and finished at 10 pm every day. The second year, it was decided to run 24 hours/day for 4 days of every week to avoid the jarring noise of diesel engine startup at 6 am and to allow use of the lake on weekends..

A 12-inch cutterhead sucked out muck and weeds. Two miles of welded, 12-inch polyethylene pipe carried sludge to the gravel pits. A booster station around the Riley and Topczewski property helped pump muck up hill. Property owners were paid $0.15/ft per year for a pipeline easement. Some of the muck was also applied to 160 acres of farmers' fields. Farmers got $40/acre/year for the loss of use of their land. After project completion, they got the benefit of decayed organic matter on their fields. People report seeing fish coming out of the pipe at the gravel pit. The entire shoreline was cleaned and graded at completion of the project.

During the dredging, use of the lake was minimal. The shoreline stretched out 200 ft in places. You could do a little boating and swimming in the middle of the lake. One pocket (about 100 ft by 300 ft) on the north shore had to be left because the water level was too low to work it. It was only in 1980 that the lake filled back out to its present size.
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What did it cost?

Federal: $350,000
Local: $225,000
State: $155,000
Total: $730,000
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What are the benefits?

New muck is accumulating at the rate of about 1/4 inch per year. At that rate, it will be about 200 years before Lilly Lake has to consider another dredging project.

Dredging pictures

Many thanks to Kathie Cashman for these pictures of the dredging operation.

Dredging rig
Dredging rig
View 1
Lake view 1
View 2
Lake view 2
Dredging site in winter
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Former resident KC provided the following pictures of the dredging operation taken in 1979 from the properties at 7717 and 7723 334th Ave.:

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Lilly Lake (Wisconsin)