Lilly Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District

Rev. 28-Apr-2019 Back to Home

April 27, 2019 meeting summary

The spring meeting took place on April 27, 2019, in the Town Hall. Board members present: Bill Glembocki, Andy Lois, Kelly Wilson, and Sheila Siegler. Also, 8 residents and Kathy Aron of Aron Associates attended. Below are brief notes on the main topics that came up during the meeting:

Water Patrol
The system will be the same as last year: rotating group of officers working the patrols as spare-time jobs using the Town-provided boat and lift. Need a boat or lift cover. The boat cover would probably be cheaper. Residents had several questions and comments.

The group leader of the patrol was unable to attend this spring meeting. We'll see if he can make the annual meeting in August.

Water Level
The water level is higher than it's been in years. It actually overflowed into the swamp after a recent rain. Is the Board thinking about a Slow-No-Wake (SNW) order to protect sea walls until evaporation brings the level down?

Glembocki will take a reading today to see what the level is and how it compares to previous readings. An SNW order now would be for property issues (protect sea walls) rather than safety (floating and submerged piers) as it was after the July 2017 floods.

What about the idea of pumping out the lake as suggested at the last meeting? With big diesel pumps going at 5000 gal/minute, you could take the lake down 2 ft in 6 days. There are about 25 million gallons in every foot of lake.

Will the DNR allow it? If not, it's a dead issue. Glembocki will call his DNR contact on Monday.

If the DNR is open to the idea, what is the right amount to take out? Take out too much, and during the usual dry spell in August, people will complain about the low level of the lake. There's no incoming water other than rain to fill the lake. What are the chances of getting agreement among the homeowners? Where will the water go? The swamp is at lake level. It can't absorb the removed water. The hunting grounds can. What happened to the ditch that used to drain the water? It got covered over during building projects. A ditch out to the wildlife area would be ideal because then the water could dribble out slowly.

Lilly Lake News
The spring 2019 issue of the Lilly Lake News is available. Many thanks to Mike Adam for his work in creating these informative newsletters.

Weed Treatment

Weed treatments are running behind due to high water and ice. Plants need to be growing to absorb a herbicide. Normally they're not active till water temp is around 50F. Lakes are currently in the mid 40s. The cold nights set them back.

Starry Stonewort is near Big Foot State Park and all over Door County. It's infested Big and Little Muskego Lakes and Wind Lake. It originally came from Europe through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The main mode of spreading it is via boats carrying it from lake to lake. Usually, if you let a weed dry out for 7 days, it won't come back to life. However, Starry Stonewort bulblets last longer. It's not clear how long they can survive in dry air.

Biologists are still experimenting with combinations of herbicides to knock it out. In deep water, they (so far) have not been able to eradicate it. They've had success in shallower channels. It grows very thick and very fast. It's hard to harvest. You can't keep up with it.

The Town greatly appreciates Kathy Aron sticking with us during all the changes in recent years.

Onterra Proposal To Create a Lake Management Plan

The DNR is pushing for whole-lake plans rather than spot treatment of weeds. Onterra LLC (recommended and located in Appleton) submitted a proposal for creating a lake and plant management plan.

The Town will go forward on the Onterra proposal subject to Kathy Aron's comments.

Annual Meeting is on August 10, 2019.

August 11, 2018 annual meeting summary

The annual meeting took place on August 11, 2018, in the Town Hall. Board members present: Bill Glembocki, Andy Lois, Kelly Wilson, and Sheila Siegler. Kathy Aron and 9 residents also attended. Below are brief notes on the main topics that came up during the meeting:

Slalom Ski Course

Weed Control
DNR weed control policy has been an issue for the past few years, and it will continue to be contentious.

Starry Stonewort
Wind Lake is infected, and it's not pretty. Luckily, the weed has not yet migrated to other lakes. However, it's expanding its range. On Wind Lake, it has gone from 50 to 75 acres and is getting into the channels.

Lake Levels, Quality
Lake level has been steady at 757.3 ft. The quality is good: the latest Secchi test was 14 ft. Phosphorus is at 14 ppb.

Fish Stocking
The fish stocking is complete.

This has been a low-goose year. There was only 1 roundup in this area. The foxes may be getting the geese.

Water Patrol
Only 2 citations have been issued so far this year. Last year there were 5 by this time. As part of a 3-lake partnership, we'll be getting reimbursed 60% for the patrol. The boat price is prorated.

Beach Improvement
The subcommittee for beach improvement will meet this fall.

Increase in Assessment
Residents approved an increase in the District assessment from 13 cents to 19 cents per $1000 of assessed value. We need to rebuild our treasury after multiple weed treatments in 2017 and the fish stocking. Also, we have to plan for the more expensive Sonar herbicide and a possible whole-lake treatment in the future.

Next year's annual meeting: August 10, 2019

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)