Northern Wisconsin Lake Temperatures Rising

Very recent reports from the UW-Madison Department of Limnology (John Lenters) have revealed rising temperatures of lake waters in Northern Wisconsin lakes and in several other states and provinces.  The rate is more than three times than the rate of overall world warming! This is dramatic in that water temperatures have significant impact on everything growing in and about lakes.  For Oxbow lake this means such critical factors as fish species, their growth, procreation and/or decline, bacterial load or ability of the lake to keep at bay harmful growths of everything up to and including algae and invasive or overly productive current species.  It means the presence of frogs, their types and numbers and the bugs on which they feed may be radically altered.

This means that unchecked or impossible to remedy, Oxbow will become a significantly different lake for our children than it is for us.  Gone might be the mighty musky, or increasingly “dirty” water choked with algae blooms, water plants, invasive species, and eroding shorelines

Sound “alarmist?”  Perhaps not if we look to our South at Oneida County where one lake suffered up to  40% real estate devaluation due to lake degradation from misuse/overuse.  (As reported by last summer’s edition of the Lakeland Times.

Obviously, Oxbow starts from a higher state of quality and the fact that it is at this state means residents are doing any number of the “right things.”  The question is will this be enough for future challenges?

Fortunately we are going to get a head start at the annual meeting where Ms. Susan Knight will help us understand the threat and some actions we can plan for our lake’s future…if for nothing else than keeping the lake properties as high as possible in what appears to be a challenging future market.

Here are a couple of concerns I’ve asked Susan to address regarding a warming Oxbow and in particular what can I do to keep the bladderwort, bryozoans and fresh water sponges active in Peaceful Bay (the bay at the outflow of Basin Creek)?  Given that these organisms act as vacuum cleaners for Oxbow waters and that they may be sensitive to increasing water temperatures I am concerned how accelerating bacterial and algae loads may effect “my” bay and what can I do to maintain the health of my lake?

Secondly, what can I do to maintain my shoreline, houseprint and road to make sure it remains a healthy ecosystem in support of my lake?

Please bring your own questions for Susan to our annual meeting.

If we work together our task becomes lighter and we become better friends.

Stu Whipple