The Oxbow Lake Adopt-a-Shoreline program has been operating since 2010. Our goal is to use volunteers to monitor the shoreline waters of Oxbow Lake and watch for exotic or invasive species. Lake vegetation is a valuable indicator of lake health and water quality, and we know that early detection is the best defense. Aquatic invasives are present in the majority of Wisconsin lakes, and spotting them early will help us get a jump on remedial actions should they ever become necessary. Over time our monitoring records will provide a valuable historical record.

It is easy to be a volunteer! If you are a fisherman, especially a musky fisherman, all you need to do is watch the weeds as you troll the shorelines. You probably do that anyway, know what weeds you are looking for, and can't help but catch a few every now and then. You don't need to document the type of vegetation you see, unless you want to. Just watch out for the "bad guys". Two invasives we are most worried about are Eurasian Watermilfoil and Curley Leaf Pondweed. They are already in nearby waters such as Harris Lake and parts of the Manitowish Chain.

If you are a kayaker or canoeist, you're probably already cruising shorelines near your place. Again, all you have to do is watch for the bad guys. Same thing for paddle-boarders, pontooners, or anyone who enjoys cruising slowly along Oxbow's shoreline.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: the threats from invasive species on all waters are real, and the effects are devastating. While in bloom, aquatic invasives grow quickly and create mats of vegetation near the lake surface. They clog boat motors and make the lake unappealing for swimming, skiing and other water sports. Fishing deteriorates. Wildlife is affected.

Please think about how lucky we are that Oxbow is invasive free! Whether you are an official volunteer or not, keep your eyes open for vegetation that looks different from what you have seen in the lake before. If you choose to volunteer, reports can be as simple or complex as you wish. The most important thing to do is spend some quality time on the water, record your hours, and where you were. That enables us to submit our year-end summary to the DNR, which is an important component toward continued lake management grants which we have benefited from in recent years.

We have a master map of who adopted each section of shoreline so far, so call us and we'll find a section for you. Most of us work sections adjacent to our own properties. We can always use more volunteers because that translates into smaller sections for each of us to watch. It is enjoyable, and extremely satisfying, to slowly poke along the beautiful Oxbow shorelines. Nature abounds and you never know what you'll see. Hopefully none of us will see anything invasive.

This is a group effort and we are always looking for volunteers! Please consider becoming a member of the Adopt-a-Shoreline group!