Lake stewards and stream monitors collect honors and awards for their work

Attached is a photo of the Wisconsin Volunteer Stream Monitoring Awards recipients: (Back row, left to right) Peggy Compton, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, UW-Extension; Laura DeGolier; Tim Asplund, Monitoring Section Chief, DNR; Patricia Cicero; Camryn Kluetmeier; Ilana Haimes, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, DNR; (front row, left to right) Valley Stewardship Network representatives: Christie Homstad, Shelly Brenneman, John Delaney; Ellen Brooks; Dave Hackett; Bill Keen; Charlie Frisk. Photo by Eva Lewandowski of the DNR.Contact Peggy Compton, peggy.compton@ces.uwex.edu, 608-342-1633

As they’ve done every year for the past 30 years, Dale Jalinski, Bob Kirschner, Tom Rulseh and Kay Scharpf will motor out to the middle of their local lakes, ease a black and white disk out of the boat and lower it down into the water on a rope until they can no longer see the disk’s harlequin pattern.

They are the longest-serving of thousands of volunteers who over the years have checked their local lakes several times a year for water clarity and other signs of good health. The information these volunteers have collected as part of Wisconsin’s Citizen Lakes Monitoring Network has been important to helping manage, protect and restore their local lakes and understand statewide trends.

The four were among more than a dozen volunteers recognized earlier this spring for their efforts to help protect and restore Wisconsin lakes and streams. The awards were presented during the Wisconsin Lakes Convention and the Water Action Volunteers stream monitoring annual symposium, recently held together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the lakes monitoring program and the 20th anniversary of the stream monitoring program.

“We really wanted to mark the anniversaries of these water monitoring collaborations in a big way, so we created an agenda that highlighted the impact of volunteer data for water management. We were thrilled to be able to recognize long-time volunteers and people making a real difference for the health of lakes, rivers and streams,” says Eric Olson, director of UW-Extension Lakes, the lead partner in organizing the annual convention.

Carroll Schaal, who leads lake and river management staff for DNR, said the amount of quality information and energy volunteers provide is an incredible boost to statewide efforts. “Our beautiful lakes and streams are a big part of what we all love about Wisconsin and we are pleased to honor these outstanding volunteers and their contributions,” said Schaal.

Dale Jalinski was honored for 30 years of monitoring Bear Lake in Oneida County; Bob Kirshner for the same at Crystal Lake in Forest County and Emden Lake in Oneida County; Tom Rulseh was honored for 30 years of monitoring McDonald Lake in Vilas County and Kay Scharpf for monitoring Franklin Lake in Forest County.

Karl and Lucy Klug of Bailey’s Harbor were honored for their 19 years monitoring streams, and Jim Korb of Richland Center was recognized for 15 years’ service as a volunteer stream monitor.

A listing of Lake Stewardship Award winners from the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership of DNR, UW-Extension and the statewide nonprofit Wisconsin Lakes, and Wisconsin Volunteer Stream Monitoring Awards from the Water Action Volunteers, follows.

Lake Stewardship awards

Gene Weyer of Manitowoc, citizen

Through work with the Hartlaub Lake Association and as president of the Manitowoc County Lakes Association from 2010-2014, Weyer recruited and trained volunteers to monitor, helped secure funding for their efforts, and led the search for a solution after a hybrid invasive plant was discovered. He also worked with the county government on lake classification, secured a portion of boat launch fees to go to AIS management efforts, and, on a personal level, purchased over 100 acres of cropland in order to manage it to reduce runoff to Hartlaub Lake.

Burnett County Lakes & Rivers Association, group

For decades, the group has been a leading force in protecting county waterways, from advocating for the county to adopt lakes classification as part of its shoreland zoning ordinance in 1988, to more recent efforts pioneering the research and use of social science principles in lake protection. Their work helped lead the county to become one of the first in Wisconsin to adopt an ordinance making it illegal to transport aquatic vegetation on boats and trailers, and they were key players in helping create an incentive program that has encouraged 750 participants to maintain or restore 50 miles of natural shorelands to protect water quality and wildlife habitat.

Susan Borman and Dorothy Semple, public service

Borman, a retired DNR aquatics plant specialist, and Semple, a Stevens Point artist, donated their time, skills and expertise as key participants in updating Through the Looking Glass, the well-regarded book of Wisconsin’s aquatic vegetation.

John Skogerboe, lifetime service

While working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Skogerboe collaborated with the DNR to research aquatic plant and invasive species management options. Since retiring two years ago, Skogerboe’s work as a consultant to DNR has continued to benefit the agency, lake management professionals, citizens, and our water resources.

Wisconsin Stream Monitoring Awards

Dave Hackett and Ellen Brooks of Gays Mills, adult volunteers

Hackett and Brooks are part of the Valley Stewardship Network and have been monitoring their stream station on the Halls Branch in Crawford County since 2000. Their data contributed to part of a Kickapoo River Watershed Assessment in 2010. Starting in 2014, they added monitoring total phosphorus levels to their duties. The two veteran volunteers often help train other volunteers, share their insights with others, and serve as role models and mentors for new WAV volunteers.

Bill and Lisa Keen of Verona, adult volunteers

The Keens began monitoring sites in the Upper Sugar River Watershed in 2007, including Badger Mill Creek which flows through their backyard. They uncovered extremely high levels of total phosphorus in Badger Mill Creek, information they shared with the surrounding municipalities and sewerage district. Bill is also a member of the Town of Verona’s Natural and Recreational Areas Committee, which effectively gives their monitoring results another voice, as does Lisa Keen’s involvement as an officer of the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association. Their river stewardship efforts also include helping to organize river clean-up days and invasive species removal events, raising beetles for purple loosestrife control, and creating an endowment fund for the association in honor of Bill’s late mother.

Laura DeGolier of Fond du Lac, adult volunteer

For 10 years, she has worked tirelessly to participate in and lead stream-monitoring efforts in the Fond du Lac area. She has also initiated and continued to monitor additional sites with her dedicated team, the Water Warriors. She has participated in WAV’s road salt monitoring project, workshops to learn how to train other volunteers, reviews her team’s data, and shared her knowledge with others through numerous presentations and avenues, including even taking local lawmakers out to monitor with her.

Camryn Kluetmeier of Madison, student volunteer

Starting at the ripe old age of 11, Kluetmeier travelled to Jefferson, Wis. for a day of stream monitoring training and soon began a stream monitoring club at Eagle School in Fitchburg with the help of her mom and others. She mentored her schoolmates in the monitoring club and also led first graders from Madison’s Franklin Elementary School to do water testing and storm drain stenciling on Lake Monona, and a group of third-graders from her church to test water in Lake Mendota. Kluetmeier is about to embark on her second year of monitoring Swan Creek in Fitchburg.

Charlie Frisk of Green Bay, outstanding teacher

Frisk has been integral to the success of the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Program. He instilled in his students at Luxemburg-Casco High School a sense of respect and passion for protecting the water resources and also trained other teachers during the annual summer teacher workshops. Despite his recent retirement, he has continued to monitor Baird Creek in Green Bay and serve as a mentor to new teachers. As an advocate for clean water, Charlie has been highly involved in community outreach projects that have helped spread awareness and secure funding for the monitoring program.

The Valley Stewardship Network of southwestern Wisconsin, outstanding group

The group works in the Kickapoo River and neighboring watersheds in southwest Wisconsin to protect the land and water through stewardship outreach and citizen action. For over 15 years, VSN has coordinated a group of water quality monitors through the WAV program. Over 200 citizen scientists have been trained and over 50 monitoring stations established. Their work contributed data for a water quality assessment for the Kickapoo River Watershed, published in 2010. The group coordinates education workshops each year that focus on land and water stewardship, provide hands-on water quality and stream ecology education for hundreds of youth each year during workshops and school field trips.

Patricia Cicero of Lake Mills, employee

Cicero, who works for the Jefferson County Land & Water Conservation Department, leads volunteer stream monitoring and volunteer invasive species prevention programs for the county. She also advises many water resources groups in Jefferson County and serves on the board of the Rock River Coalition. Cicero has been contributing data to the DNR through various monitoring programs since 2005 and has been a go-to resource for Water Action Volunteers when launching new initiatives by securing volunteers or monitoring herself. Cicero has been involved in all levels of WAV monitoring, including participating in more recent efforts to check streams for total phosphorus and salt levels.

PHOTO: Some of those receiving awards for their citizen science volunteer work include:
(Back row, left to right) Peggy Compton, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, UW-Extension; Laura DeGolier; Tim Asplund, Monitoring Section Chief, DNR; Patricia Cicero; Camryn Kluetmeier; Ilana Haimes, Water Action Volunteers Coordinator, DNR; (front row, left to right) Valley Stewardship Network representatives: Christie Homstad, Shelly Brenneman, John Delaney; Ellen Brooks; Dave Hackett; Bill Keen; Charlie Frisk. Photo by Eva Lewandowski.

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