It doesn’t look like it’s in poor health, but Green Lake, one of Wisconsin’s great inland lakes, is not doing well.
Technically, the term used to describe its health is “impaired,” which means that it needs care and attention.
That label, “impaired,” was given to the lake in 2014 after a study of the state’s lakes was completed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In its report, the DNR wrote, “An impaired waterway is a system that does not meet accepted water quality standards.”
A DNR press release at the time added, “While Green Lake is still safe for swimming and other recreational activities, significant conservation measures must be taken in order to improve water quality and to ensure that this valuable resource will be preserved for future generations of lake users.
Fortunately, that diagnosis alarmed a number of academic, local, private, and public organizations. Collectively, they’re working hard to further understand what caused the lake to degrade, and just as importantly, what can be done to bring the 7,920 acre jewel back to good health.
On Saturday, May 4, Stephanie Prellwitz, the executive director of the Green Lake Association, one of the leaders in the battle to restore the lake, will provide a meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends with an update on what her nonprofit organization and its growing list of partners have done and are doing to protect the area’s most famous asset.
The meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. at the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake is open to the public.
Prellwitz has worked for the Green Lake Association since February 2013. She has a MS in Biological Systems Engineering from UW-Madison and BS in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis in Water Resources. In the organization’s most recent annual report, Prellwitz asked, “Should we settle for the lake as it is, or do we work for the lake as it should be?”
The resident of Ripon then added, “One path suggests complacency with the present, the other implies a future-focused challenge. One path is surviving, the other path is thriving. One path is relatively easy, the other path is certainly difficult.”
When confronted with these choices, the nonprofit organization’s 12-member volunteer board of directors did not hesitate. “The board’s decision was unanimous and clear. We owe it to our members to take the higher road, to trek the path less traveled. Our organization exists to work for the lake as it should be.”
At its deepest, 237 feet, Green Lake is the deepest natural inland lake in Wisconsin. Its watershed covers 107 square miles, and includes, in addition to Green Lake County, portions of Fond du Lac and Winnebago Counties. Its shoreline is just over 27 miles.
The Green Lake Association offices are in Town Square in Green Lake. You can learn more about the organization by visiting its website: greenlakeassociation.com.