Our FAQ Page is Currently Under Construction and we will add questions and answers as they are available.
Like our “About us” page, since this site first began we have always welcomed your input and questions, so please feel free to contact us with any questions you have (in writing) and we will post the answers here once the correct answer is found. (Note: We reserve the right to update/change information here without notice depending on Wisconsin Statues, and ever changing laws and regulations.)
At out meetings we sometimes may have “Public Comments” this is so the public may comment, it is not a “Public Question and Answer time.” As much as we want to answer all the questions you have, we can’t. The reason is because “if it’s not on the agenda” we can not discuss it. According to the Wisconsin law. And a verbal answer may be misquoted from the person answering it and we prefer not to give an inaccurate answer and then be misquoted and/or spun in the paper or on social media, which seems to be a common occurrence. So feel free to ask questions, voice a concern or comment you may have.
Hydrogen sulfide— A chemical, smelling of rotten eggs, that results from the breakdown of organic matter by bacteria in the absence of oxygen.
Lake districts are special purpose units of government, and include; public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts, sanitary districts, special districts, and commissions formed by local governments. The purpose of a district is to maintain, protect, and improve the quality of a lake and its watershed for the mutual good of the members and the lake environment.
Lake districts are established by town, county or village boards, or city councils, and usually based on a formal petition of lake area owners. Lake district formation and operations must comply with Chapter 33 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The boundaries of a lake district usually include the property of all riparian owners and can include off-lake property that benefits from the lake or affects the lake’s watershed. The district may include all or part of a lake or more than one lake. A city or village must give its approval to be included in a district. A Guide for Wisconsin Lake Organizations
The areas we picked to dredge first were recommended by a Professional Dredger we met with. He recommended the first priority was to dredge where water washes in nutrient rich sediment into the lake. There are three areas where that occurs: 1. Where the river flows into Pigeon Lake. 2. The flow coming from Brady Lake into Mathews Bay. 3. The flow coming into Fairway Lake and Golf Course Bayou.
The second priority is where the nutrient rich sediment is built up so much to the extent that the dissolved oxygen is depleted. Decomposition of organic matter by bacteria and fungi also contributes to oxygen depletion, then hydrogen sulfide is released from the organic sediment into the water and depletes the dissolved oxygen from the water, thus making it less inhabitable for fish, reptiles and mussels.
Both Mathews Bay and Golf Course Bayou have an over abundance of organic sediment and has the greatest dissolved oxygen loss due to the organic sediment decomposing. Whereas the water coming into the lake via the river from Marion is oxygen rich from the continuous flow of water.
As much as we would like to dredge everywhere there is sediment, the two areas with the greatest dissolved oxygen loss are our highest priority.
By approval of the Department of Natural Resources, Pigeon Lake will be drawn down to the lake bed, starting September 4, 2018. The draw down will allow critical safety repairs to the Clintonville Dam as well as provide an opportunity for upstream lake improvements.
Residents upstream and downstream of the dam will see changes in river and lake elevations. Water from the lake will be released through the dam, and the river level downstream may raise unexpectedly as the drawdown starts. The river color may also change due to lake materials passing through the dam.
Pigeon Lake will be drawn down at a rate no faster than 6 inches per day. An exact refill date for the lake has not been established but depends on when contractors are able to complete the work. The refill is expected to start no earlier than May 15 and start no later than December 6, 2019 (when the DNR permit for dam repairs ends).
- No riparian improvements (docks, shorelines, etc.) can be started without first contacting the DNR (Scott Koehnke, 715-526-4232) for permit requirements.
- No motorized vehicles are allowed on the lake bed.
- All watercraft and floating structures not removed prior to September 4, 2018, may be stranded until the lake is refilled.
- As lake levels decrease, stumps, rocks, and other navigational obstructions in the impoundment will be closer to the surface. Boaters should use extreme caution while navigating the lowered lake.
To report illegal activities during the draw down, contact the DNR hotline at 1-800-847-9367. For more information about the draw down, contact the City of Clintonville at 715-823-7600.
The dredging exemption is for manual dredging, which means dredging by hand or using a hand-held device without the aid of external or auxiliary power. More information on the manual dredging exemption is available here:
DNR also has a new Small Scale Dredging Permit, which allows for the removal of 25 cubic yards over 5 years.
Landowners would have to comply with the conditions of the checklist.
Larger scale dredging permits need to follow the process outlined on this link:
The DNR does not generally recommend contractors.
If the removal of the material is by hand, the manual dredging exemption would apply if less than two cubic yards. If the removal is not by hand, it would fall under the conditions of a dredging permit
Riparian owners can place pea gravel above the ordinary high water mark; below the ordinary high water mark a
permit is required. For more information, see this website:
Yes, if done by hand. If any machinery is needed, it would fall under the conditions of a dredging permit. If less than 25 cubic yards, it may qualify for a small scale dredging permit.
DNR has a general permit for rip rap repair:
If a riparian wants to repair rip rap on their property and they don’t meet the conditions necessary to get the general permit, they can apply for an individual permit.
If a riparian wants to replace their rip rap entirely, they may qualify for an exemption from permitting. For more
information on that, see the exemption checklist below. If the riparian does not qualify for the exemption, they can apply for a permit.
DNR has a general permit for the placement of new rip rap. Riparians should see the checklist to see if they meet the
conditions. Otherwise, biological shore erosion control is a good option for shore stabilization. These activities are
exempt from permitting, provided they meet the conditions of the exemption checklist.
The exposed lake bed should freeze over the winter although there may be soft spots in areas where groundwater enters the lake. The severity of freezing will depend on the weather conditions this winter. Snow cover will insulate the exposed lake bottom and warm weather during the winter will allow water to run under the snow/ice layer. A cold and relatively dry winter will provide the best conditions for solid and deeper freezing. The DNR may measure the exposed lake bottom surface this winter to determine the depth of sediment freezing.
No, According to Wis. DNR Public Notice, “No motorized vehicles are allowed on the lake bed” and City of Clintonville Ordinance 1151-Motorized Recreational Use on Pigeon River Pond Prohibits it.
Removal of living plants is only allowed in a single 30 foot wide path adjacent to a landower’s property, and only if the area is not located in a sensitive area as determined by the DNR, and the removal doesn’t interfere with the rights of other riparian property owners.
Aquatic plants that reproduce mainly by seed are known to be most successful following drawdown. Muskgrasses (Chara), Naiads, and thin-leaf pondweed species have been the most successful following other lake drawdowns. Plants that reproduce mainly by rhizomes and vegetative reproductive structures (winter buds, turions, bulbils) such as milfoil, coontail, and certain pondweed species are expected to decrease following drawdown. It is expected that emergent plants (cattail and bulrush) will recolonize shallow water areas to some extent the year after the drawdown. These plants have evolved to adapt with changing water levels and may benefit from the drawdown.
There are numerous examples in Wisconsin and elsewhere that show that Eurasian water milfoil can be substantially reduced for multiple years following an overwinter drawdown if the exposed lake bottom freezes. In addition, the exposure of lake bottom sediments to dry and freezing conditions can cause the organic sediment in the exposed lakebed to compact and oxidize; increasing the water depth following the drawdown. This oxidation can lead to increased release of phosphorus from exposed sediments initially after the lake is refilled, but less phosphorus release after the initial flush from refill.
The extent of control of EWM and SSW and compaction of lake sediments will depend on the severity of the winter and the amount of drawdown that is possible. Colder and dryer fall and winter weather will create conditions for better control of these invasive plants and organic sediments. Cracking sediment on the exposed lakebed is a sign that the lake bottom has dried enough to allow compaction of organic sediments and plant seed germination. The exposed sediments may be checked this winter to determine the depth of frost and freezing conditions.