The BCLF understands the value of working in tandem with others to preserve and protect our lakes and to serve our members. Here are some examples of the partnerships we enjoy:
In 2006, the Forum partnered with the County Tourism Department. After making Tourism aware of the need to protect our lakes from EWM, the BCLF helped win the support of the Bayfield County Board and acquire a $50,000 grant that funds our county AIS prevention work. This grant also allowed the County to hire Stefania Strzalkowska, our County AIS Program Coordinator. Bayfield County is one of very few counties that have hired AIS coordinators.
The BCLF recently helped found the Northwestern Wisconsin Water Resources Consortium, a coalition aimed at sharing information, supporting common work and speaking in a united voice on behalf of all northwestern lakes and streams. This partnership works closely with UWEX, DNR and WAL. The BCLF was the inspiration for this organization and offers leadership. Sixteen northwestern counties are interested.
In February, 2007, the BCLF gathered together a team of 27 key players that make decisions regarding lakes and streams in Bayfield County. This Bayfield County Lakes Forum Consortium works together on issues and actions that affect Bayfield County surface waters. This partnership is similar to the regional consortium mentioned above, but it is within Bayfield County. The BCLF worked closely with the Bayfield County UW Extension Agent to facilitate this partnership.
In March, 2007, the BCLF drafted a resolution prohibiting the transport of aquatic plants. They later partnered with the Bayfield County Board, to advance the concept. The Forum then worked in partnership with the AIS Coordinator and the County Conservation Department to write the ordinance. The County Board approved the ordinance in October. It is now illegal to transport aquatic plants on Bayfield County roadways! This will go a long way to stop the spread of EWM, VHS and other invasive species. The Forum is now sharing this experience with other northwestern Wisconsin counties and hopes to foster similar coalitions.
Another 2007 Forum resolution calls for the elimination of lead-based terminal fishing tackle. We have partnered with the Sigurd Olsen Environmental Institute's LoonWatch program to protect loons and other creatures from exposure to lead poisoning.
Jim Brakken, BCLF President, has partnered with the office of Senator Bob Jauch to sponsor a measure that promises to protect the near-shore zone and the plants and animals that depend on this sensitive area. Upon legislative approval, all Wisconsin lakes will see a slow-no-wake requirement within 100 feet from shore. Because pets, kids and many fishermen play and fish in the waters near shore, this rule will help protect them. The bill, supported by another BCLF partner, the Wisconsin Association of Lakes and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, should appear on the Senate floor soon.
The BCLF has partnered with the Bayfield County Zoning Department to draft strong yet fair regulations regarding campground development near shore, improve the multiple-unit developments and other important shoreland zoning language. This has been a valuable partnership and promises to continue to improve the shoreland zoning regulations.
BCLF works closely with the Wisconsin Association of Lakes. Three BCLF Directors have served on the WAL Board. In that capacity, they have succeeded in making the BCLF influential in developing the WAL's relationship with its county-wide lake organizations. The BCLF keeps our lake associations and individuals aware of the activities of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes and encourages membership.
The BCLF is represented on the Bayfield County AIS Committee and on the Northwest Weed Management Cooperative Area. These committees give all of our regional lakes a clear advantage in the fight to keep invasives out of our waters.
This year will mark the 11th annual Northwest Wisconsin Lake Conference. The Forum has been a key player within the Planning Committee of the Northwest Lakes Conference since 2000. The NWLC was originally planned and produced only by the BCLF. Today, the Forum partners with WAL, Extension, and four other countywide lake groups to produce this very successful event. Governor Doyle has attended several times and legislators from northwestern Wisconsin are regular attendees. This year's Keynote Speaker is Randy Stark, Chief of the WDNR Bureau of Enforcement. The event is scheduled for June 19, 2008. Register at wisconsinlakes.org or call 1-800-542-5253.
To help educate shoreland owners about changes in the zoning regulations, the Bayfield County Lakes Forum partnered with the Bayfield County League of Women Voters to host three listening sessions in the county. The events were very successful, attracted many participants, and were closely covered by the media.
Although all the above partnerships are important, BCLF's first and foremost partnership is with our member lake organizaions. Together we share information on lake issues and work to protect our Bayfield County waters.
The Forum coordinates activities relating to lakes with county government, town boards, UWEX, and other partners who are involved with lake programs. We provide volunteer resources to assist these agencies and organizations in accomplishing their work.
BCLF will continue to create valuable partnerships and be an active and ever more powerful voice for the preservation and improvement of the precious water resources of Bayfield County, the value of property adjoining those waters and the economic benefits that derive from them.
Information on many of the above partnerships can be found within these BCLF web pages.