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Audubon Action Center

©2016 Northeastern WI Audubon Society, Inc.


Berry Lake Ice-Out
Informational Workshop

Saturday, April 26, 2008



Brian Ewart
9:00 AM – 9:10 AM

Secrets From Berry Lake's Deep:  Long-Term Changes in Climate, Lake-Levels & Landscape
Professor Samantha Kaplan
9:15 AM - 9:40 AM

What drives water-level change at Berry Lake?  The lake-level records Berrylakers maintained for decades are now helping scientists understand those ups and downs and telling them what we might expect in the future.

After hearing about our lake studies, UW-Madison/Stevens Point professor Samantha Kaplan inquired about including Berry Lake in a major climate change research project.  Berrylakers, Underhill residents and Menominee responded enthusiastically by traveling to Stevens Point to introduce Dr. Kaplan’s research team to Berry Lake with background presentations, helping when she and her team visited the lake to make preliminary assessments and again when she took sediment cores going back to the Ice Age.

Kaplan now has evidence suggesting Berry Lake’s water-levels changed far more dramatically in the past than the relatively modest ups and downs we have experienced.  What was it about the past that created such dramatic change?  What might we expect in the comparatively near and more distant future?

Professor Kaplan will tell us what science presently says about Berry Lake’s past lake-level changes, fire frequency, changes in the surrounding landscape and how her research seeks to learn more about the past to understand how climate change may affect Berry Lake and Wisconsin in the future.

Professor Samantha Kaplan is a geographer and limnogeologist with a joint appointment at UW-Madison and Stevens Point.

Menominee Land Management:  Past & Present
Ron Waukau
9:45 AM- 10:15 AM

Old timers and many of those who grew-up visiting Berry Lake remember a beautiful deep forest in near wilderness condition lying just over the line on the Menominee Reservation. Today much of that forest has been replaced by housing and roads.  A mile south of Berry Lake and a mere half mile to the west and northwest, large sections of what remains are being clear cut and burned.

What are the Menominee up to?  Are they squeezing every last penny out of the lumber market without regard for the North Woods experience that brought “summer people” to Moshawquit and Legend Lakes and which still calls many “home” to Berry Lake each year?

Learn how the Menominee are using fire to preserve their cultural heritage even as they explore new forest management techniques.  Ron Waukau will give us a fascinating presentation on how the Menominee managed their forests in the past with fire and how they are once again using fire to return the forest to what it was before fire suppression created the woodland we see around us today.

To visit and learn more about the burn areas as well as the Menominee forest, its pests and diseases with the Menominee’s top forester see Tour A (below).

Ron Waukau is an enrolled member of the Menominee Tribe and works for the Tribe’s logging operation, Menominee Tribal Enterprises, in Fire Protection as a Fuel Specialist.

The Rises and Falls of Berry Lake
Professor Neil Heywood
10:20 AM - 10:45 AM

Do Berry Lake’s water-levels rise and fall on a seven year cycle? Do Lake Michigan lake-levels determine the water-levels at Berry Lake?  Did someone really once build an island in Berry Lake?  Did a stream flow from Berry Lake to Moshawquit Lake until someone filled it in?  Each of these has passionate believers and passionate disbelievers.

The questions are significant.  Questions like these are important enough to the research underway that Professor Neil Heywood and his UW-Stevens Point undergraduate seniors are applying scientific methods and state of the art technology to find the answers.

The answers are also important to those who enjoy Berry Lake.  With ice-out each year, water-level is the foremost concern for many Berrylakers.  Small changes can have dramatic effects on the lake’s characteristics, our recreational opportunities and property values.

Professor Neil Heywood and his students are taking a close look at Berry Lake water-level changes over many decades.  Using data ranging from cottagers’ annual water-level measurements to aerial photos as far back as the 1930s to on the ground observations, Professor Heywood’s team is drawing conclusions about the natural and unnatural influences on water levels at Berry Lake.

Along the way, the team is also gaining evidence about the possibility of an island, a stream and other Berry Lake phenomena.  Professor Heywood will present what they are researching and what they have concluded thus far.

Professor Heywood is a geologist and geographer at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM

The Making of Underhill & Berry Lake:
Discovering Our Past, Present & Future
Adelaide Boettcher & Brian Ewart
11:00 AM - 11:25 AM

The surrounding towns have written histories but the histories of Underhill and Berry Lake are neither researched nor written.  The stories and artifacts that make up the knowledge of our past are slipping away.  Underhill native Adelaide Boettcher and lifelong Berrylaker Brian Ewart have teamed-up to gather and weave together those scattered bits and pieces of story and fact before the fragments vanish forever.  Using the contributions of Underhill residents, Berrylakers, the Menominee and others, they are discovering the rich story of how we made our community and our history together.

This overview will include 1905 photos of Underhill’s rugged muddy streets, horse drawn carriages, sawmill, businesses and citizens as well as photos starting in 1907 of Berry Lake’s development as a resort and vacation community with picnicking, early cottage building and recreational activities.

More than talking about specific families and showing shoe boxes full of faded photos from the “Good ‘Ol Days,” the presenters will discuss how they are using photographs to unravel the mysteries of the past and how old photos provide evidence about the way our lives and community have changed, how our relationship to Berry Lake has changed, how we have changed Berry Lake and what these changes might mean for the futures of Berry Lake, Underhill and us.

Run-off & Erosion Solutions, Shoreland Restoration & Cost Sharing
Tom Milheiser
11:30 AM - 12:00 Noon

Berry Lake’s shorelands have undergone dramatic transformations.  Oak wilt, sea walls, population growth and our suburban lifestyles are often at odds with maintaining the healthy lake ecosystem that attracts us.  To keep the Lake healthy, we don’t need to abandon our comfortable homes and live in a tent but there are things we can do to improve and maintain the things about Berry Lake which we prize.

Because Berry Lake is essentially a pool of water in a bowl with sandy sides, all of its property owners are susceptible to run-off and erosion problems.  The way property owners address those problems and manage their properties determines much about the health of the Lake.

Tom Milheiser of the Oconto County Land Conservation Department is working with property owners to solve common shoreland problems in cost effective ways.  Tom will describe what property owners can do to improve habitat and water quality by controlling erosion and restoring their shorelands. He will describe and discuss shorelands, shorelines, buffers and runoff, lawn care facts, lawns vs. buffers, water flow and direction, causes of erosion, hard surface area runoff and the importance of natural vegetation. He will also present Best Management Practices, explain how to design and obtain a restored shoreline, show photos of completed projects and describe the County’s cost sharing programs that make them more affordable. 

To see and discuss run-off/erosion problems and shoreland restoration opportunities at the Camp join the head of Oconto County’s Land Conservation Department on Tour B (see below).

Tom Milheiser is the Head of the Oconto County Land Conservation Department.

Eurasian water-milfoil: Prevention, Monitoring and Eradication, Grant Update, Berry Lake’s New Invasive & Water Quality Monitoring
Brian Ewart
12:00 Noon – 12:25 PM

We are very fortunate that our lake studies found the highly aggressive aquatic invasive species, Eurasian water-milfoil, in the earliest stage ever reported in Northeast Wisconsin.  We followed DNR advice by pulling EWM in the summer and chemically treating it in the fall.  The DNR said ours was the quickest response they’d ever seen.

Lake Grant’s Coordinator, Brian Ewart, will provide an up-date on what we have learned about the extent of the EWM infestation after ice-out.  He will describe our plans for EWM eradication and on-going monitoring for both EWM and zebra mussels.  He will also give an up-date on the grant and opportunities to participate in Berry Lake’s AIS boat inspections and help with other activities.  He will describe the situation concerning Berry Lake’s newly discovered invasive species and the plans for its eradication.

The presentation will then turn to Berry Lake’s water quality monitoring program starting with the results of last year’s water clarity (Secchi Disk) monitoring.  This year’s monitoring of water chemistry, water levels and precipitation will be described.

To see Berry Lake’s EWM locations, monitor EWM, visit the Lake’s latest invasive species and use a Secchi Disk, join Berry Lake’s Lake Grants Coordinator on Tour C (below).

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM

Fishery Report & Fish Habitat Enhancements
David Rowe
1:15 PM – 1:45 PM

DNR fish reports let us know if Berry Lake’s fish population is healthy, in balance and, if necessary, what we can do to help it.  DNR fishery biologists were unable to write a complete report for decades because the three fish surveys (studies) that provide the necessary data were not all available at the same time.  Because the next opportunity to have all three surveys together would be sometime around 2025, our Berry Lake Lake Studies solved the problem last spring by supplying the missing survey (fyke net) with the help of the Menominee Tribe and the DNR,

This past winter, DNR fisheries biologist David Rowe analyzed the data and wrote our first complete fish report in decades.  The report is packed with information about Berry Lake’s fishery.  His presentation was very well received by the Berry Lake Stakeholders Committee.

David will present the data, show us what’s right and what’s out of whack.  He will explain possible reasons for the inconsistencies and possible solutions.  David’s presentation will cover fish interactions, the food chain and other important dynamics that determine if your next fishing trip is likely to be successful or not.

To visit places that are especially important to Berry Lake’s fish population, see where habitat improvement could benefit fish, and discuss the fishery with the DNR Fish Biologist and Menominee Tribal Enterprises Environmentalist, see Tour D (below).

Starting at 2:00 PM

45 Minute Tours Will Continue According To Demand & Guides

Tour A:  Tour the nearby Menominee forest and burn areas with Menominee Tribal Enterprises Forest Manager Marshall Pecore.  Enjoy a rare opportunity to discuss forestry in the Menominee forest with the Menominee’s top forester.  Visit recent and past prescribed burns to see the effects of fire management and its progression in subsequent years.  Learn about the forest diseases and pests that afflict both Menominee timber prospects and Berry Lake properties.

Tour B:  On-site examination of run-off and erosion problems with Oconto County Land Conservation Department Head, Tom Milheiser.  See examples of Berry Lake’s common erosion problems and discuss solutions.  Learn about County sponsored shoreline restoration opportunities and cost sharing programs available to owners of shoreline property.

Tour C:  Berry Lake Pontoon Boat Tour with Lake Grants Coordinator, Brian Ewart.  Visit the locations with Eurasian water-milfoil.  Learn about EWM identification and monitoring.  Learn to identify another newly arrived invasive species and see where it gained a toehold at Berry lake.  Participate in a Secchi Disk water clarity demonstration.

Tour D:  Berry Lake Pontoon Boat Tour with DNR Fisheries Biologist, David Rowe, & Menominee Tribal Enterprises Environmentalist, Doug Cox.  See important fish habitat and critical spawning areas. Visit and discuss potential habitat improvement project sites.











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