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On Saturday May 20, 2023 WCOLA, Stewardship and Resources Committee held it’s first annual PARTNER FAIR and EDUCATION SESSION.

Slide show from partner fair

The Partner Fair consisted of: Boater Safety professionals, Lake District leaders, WCOL Government and Community relations committee leaders, WDNR, UWSP Extension Lakes, Waupaca County Land and Water Conservation, Golden Sands – Resources Conservation and Development, Native plant experts and enthusiasts, all dedicated in promoting ecological well-being of our Waupaca Chain O’Lakes.

The Partner Fair gave attendees the opportunity to gather important information and knowledge about our local partners and the value they bring to us, our community and our lakes as a whole. This was also a fun opportunity to socialize with many friends and neighbors.


Our EDUCATION session had THREE parts

1. Key speakers: Paul Skawinski- WI Citizen Lake Monitoring Network Statewide Educator - UWSP Extension Lakes and Patrick Goggin - Lake Outreach Specialist - UWSP Extension Lakes.

Paul introduced us to the importance of caring for our watershed and irreversible consequences if we don’t!! He walked us through developing and installing rain gardens to capture water before it runs off into the lakes.

“Many chemicals move freely across or through the soil unless a barrier of deep- rooted vegetation can stop them. 70% of all water pollution is caused by storm water run-off carrying pollutants to our waterways”

Adding a rain garden or native planting ridge to capture water run-off before it hits our lakes and waterways, is a simple way we can do our part to help maintain or restore our beautiful healthy lakes. Our neighbors and friends may think of it as a beautiful garden but in actuality its a "storm water management system"

Patrick introduced us to “HEALTHY LAKES BEST PRACTICES” –explaining how continued growth and development around the lakes is causing lake health to decline and is stressing our wild life habitat and ecosystem.

The Healthy Lakes grant Program is an easy way to help landowners improve or maintain their shorelines with assisted cost from the DNR grant.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are several homeowners around WCOL who were awarded grants through the Healthy Lakes program in 2023. Look for their NATIVE GARDENS and RAIN GARDENS around the Chain.

For assistance with GRANTS through Healthy Lakes program please contact Dan McFarlane or Taylor Hasz (Waupaca County Land and Water Conservation) - contact information provided below.

Patrick shared WHY it's important to have native plants and remove invasives on our properties.

In a nutshell " Invasive plants spread rapidly outcompeting natives and cannot support our native wildlife that depend on specific plant species for survival".

"Native plants on your property promote the overall health of the ecosystem, support wildlife and enhance biodiversity (fish, birds, turtle, pollinators...etc), improve water quality, and adds beauty and value to your property ".

2. Mark Kunstman (WCOLA board member) and Chris Hamerla - Golden Sands, introduced us to the work that they are doing to irradicate Purple Loosestrife on Mark's lakeshore by using biocontrol. Raising Galerucella beetles for the purpose of releasing them to help manage dense PLS areas.

3. Lastly, Bridget O'Brain, Brian Zalay, Paul Skawinski and Patrick Goggin led us across the street to view and discuss shoreline erosion and invasive species found in the area. Bridget and Brian are critical members of our Stewardship and Resources committee and a great resource for all of us in regards to identifying invasive species and how to remove it on our properties.


Both Paul and Patrick have published books that are very helpful, informative and highly recommended.

Paul's book is spiral bound and easy to take with you while boating. AQUATIC PLANTS OF THE UPPER MIDWEST - available UWSP Extension Lakes online bookstore (here).

Patrick has published an e-book that you can find through a link at Healthy Lakes. GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTS


We'd like to sincerely THANK all of our PARTNERS for attending our first annual FAIR. Your participation and contributions were greatly appreciated. We are grateful for your active involvement in helping us to become better stewards of our lakes and land.


Looking for more information on:

- Grants and the grant process?

- HOW to build a rain garden, fact sheets, plant suggestions/recommendations?

- Native woodland/lakeside plants and resources?

- Shoreline stabilization techniques and ideas?

- Information about INVASIVE plants (aquatic or terrestrial) what they are, what they look like and how to remove them?

Visit WCOLA webpage and click on Committee News / Stewardship and Resources Committee - it's all there for you and more !


Waupaca Chain O'Lakes Association

Stewardship and Resources Committee

Julie Mazzoleni - Chair

Fawn Johnson - Co-Chair

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