Bayfield County Lakes Forum Accomplishments

The BCLF MISSION:  The Bayfield County Lakes Forum works to preserve and enhance the scenic, natural, recreational and economic values of Bayfield County lakes, streams and shorelands.

Your BCLF in action:

The Bayfield County Lakes Forum (BCLF) is a volunteer citizen group that represents the lake associations in our Bayfield County and our individual members. We are not part of the county government and rely on your contributions to continue our work. Here are a few examples of our successes . . .

BCLF convinced the county board to create an ordinance designed to protect lakes from aquatic invasive species (AIS). Bayfield County was first in the State to make it illegal to transport aquatic plants on our roadways, inspiring neighboring counties to follow and the State Legislature to make this a statewide law.

BCLF, after seeing a need for improved water education opportunities for young people, has partnered with Northland College and others to investigate and promote a youth water education program for our region and possibly the entire state.

BCLF was instrumental in the ‘Slow-No-Wake within 100 feet of shore’ law, initiating the concept, finding partners, garnering support and following it through to its implementation last year.

BCLF is leading the way toward a statewide ‘phase out’ of small toxic lead sinkers and jigs that are killing our loons, raptors and other wildlife. We will establish non-toxic tackle ‘swap’ events to help this happen.

BCLF collaborated with our nine neighboring countywide lake associations to form an active partnership that represents the unique interests of our region. Our new Northwest Wisconsin Waters Consortium (NWWC), also known as Northwest Waters, shares information, supports common work and speaks in a united voice for lakes.

BCLF partnered with the County Tourism Department to address the threat of Eurasian Watermilfoil (EWM). This resulted in a major grant that funded our county AIS work and funded the hiring of our Bayfield County AIS Program Coordinator.

BCLF’s ‘phosphorus-free’ resolutions helped usher in the new statewide bans on phosphorus lawn food and phosphorus-based detergents.

BCLF addressed the lakeside fireworks issue after lake associations complained of excessive fireworks at waterfront homes. The Forum partnered with local enforcement, educated lake users about the fireworks laws and of the problems caused by fireworks. The result was fewer reports of fireworks violations, greater public support plus a major corporate annual fireworks event over Lake Owen has now been permanently terminated by the company.

BCLF represents over 3,000 waterfront homeowners interests on a statewide level, working closely with our Wisconsin Legislators, the Wisconsin Lakes (WAL), DNR, the Northwest Waters Consortium, UWEX and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

BCLF frequently testifies at County Zoning and Board of Adjustments meetings on behalf of reasonable, responsible development practices.

BCLF has proposed improvements in the Fishing Tournament rules to protect against AIS spread.

BCLF Directors posted EWM Alert signs and ‘No-Transport’ signs at every Bayfield County public landing and at many private landings to help keep invasives out of your favorite lake.

BCLF and our partners invite you to attend the 13th annual Northwest Lakes Conference in Minong, June 24th. We created this great event, and partner with other countywides to plan it each year.

BCLF has hosted free Clean Boats – Clean Waters training sessions in collaboration with UWEX and our County AIS Coordinator.

BCLF developed the Bayfield County Lakes Consortium: 30 key partners that make decisions regarding our County waters. They work together to better serve the public and the lakes.

BCLF has an excellent website: It features many lake articles free for use in lake newsletters, tips on lake management and waterfront restoration and much more.

BCLF offers free web design and web page hosting for lake associations.

BCLF’s LAKE REFLECTIONS newsletter reaches over 3,000 waterfront homeowners in our county. 5,000 additional copies are hand delivered to local businesses for local citizens and visitors.

BCLF has sponsored attendance at the Wisconsin Lake Leaders’ Institute.

BCLF directors frequently speak at lake and community club meetings on key lake issues.

BCLF fights for more protective statewide shoreland development rules, less farm runoff to lakes and streams, improved groundwater regulations, more funding for AIS education, more funds for our Land and Water Conservation Dept, Zoning Dept. and more.

BCLF has hosted VHS disease education sessions and works to educate boaters on this devastating threat to our fisheries.

BCLF supports town overlays within county zoning ordinances that reduce waterfront dwelling densities to reasonable levels.

BCLF Directors help form lake associations, help secure grants, offer guidance for boat landing monitoring programs and more.

BCLF recently helped stop a 208 unit ATV campground when it was learned that its development would harm three small lakes.

BCLF is working to improve the campground zoning regulations in our towns and county.

BCLF Directors, present and past, serve on a wide variety of boards, committees and partnerships that address surface waters issues. These include the Board of Wisconsin Lakes (WAL), the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the Northwest Weed Management Cooperative Area and the Bayfield County AIS Committee, among others.

BCLF is your watch dog organization. We stay on top of the lake issues. When we learn of an issue affecting our waters and those who use them, we take action, alerting members to lake issues and opportunities via e-mail.

The Lakes Forum represents lake organizations and individuals across the county, lending support to your efforts, and encouraging your direct input on critical issues. It’s true: When we learn of an issue affecting our waters and those who use them, we take action…getting the word out, educating ourselves & others, contacting appropriate state/local agencies or officials and encouraging others to do the same. Our work has influenced and inspired many other countywide and statewide groups to do similar work. This is good because BCLF knows that a problem for one lake may be a problem for all. We treat each concern, including yours, as most important.

The BCLF will continue its multi-faceted approach to protecting our surface waters so future generations will be able to enjoy clean, safe and healthy Bayfield County lakes and streams.

It is clear that most, perhaps all, of the above accomplishments would not have occurred in the absence of the Bayfield County Lakes Forum.