PACRS is about working together to make a positive change. In order for positive change to take place it is very necessary that trust and partnership be the cornerstone of any discussions. It’s important that working together becomes the way, not the exception. These two attributes, trust and partnership played a significant role in the accomplishments and projects listed on this page.

2016

  • Helped sponsor Heathy Soil Healthy Water Conference with 130 attendees at Midstate Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids. 50% of attendees were agricultural producers.
  • Support continues for the Clean Boats Clean Water program on both Petenwell and Castle Rock Lakes.

2015

  • Participated in the 5th Annual Wisconsin River Water Quality Symposium held in March 2015.  Grant money that made the Symposium possible in prior years was no longer available. PACRS raised $5,000 from sponsors so this event could be held.
  •  PACRS brochures and holders were distributed to over 30 area businesses raising awareness of our mission and encouraging membership.
  • Held first annual funding raising event in September at Petenwell Coounty Park.
  • Support of Clean Boats Clean Water programs continue on Petenwell & Castle Rock Lakes
  • Wisconsin River Power Co completed a ¾ mile stretch of shoreline stabilization on Castle Rock Lakes. Encouraged by PACRS,  300 lineal feet of sturgeon spawning habitat was incorporated into this project.  Larger boulders for channel catfish were also added.  PACRS members worked with WRPCO on this project.
  • A face to face meeting with DNR Secretary, Cathy Stepp was held in October. PACRS and 4 additional citizens groups met with Secretary Stepp to discuss the implementation of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) water quality study. Implementation is to start in 2016-2017.

2014

  • Invite county conservationist to speak at monthly PACRS meetings to keep awareness of county issues.
  • Recruit new board members in order to keep diversification within PACRS.
  • Hold Pontoons & Politics in 2014 for local county officials.
  • Finished new website and brochure.
  • Support continued for Clean Boats Clean Water on Castle Rock and Petenwell Lakes. Over 600 hours were spent at boat landings and 1,054 boats inspected.

2013

  • Secured extended state funding, by working with area legislators, to conduct a water quality study of the Wisconsin River. The study is referred to as Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL. Read more in the project section of this page.
  • Challenged the DNR on the implementation of new phosphorus rules.
  • Received a DNR River Planning Grant to grow our organization.
  • Successfully negotiated with the Department of Natural Resources and the Domtar paper manufacturing plant for a stricter phosphorus limit for Domtar’s Rothschild facility.

2012

  • A mechanical “profiler” that automatically collects water quality data and sends to the WDNR was installed with PACR assistance.
  • Successfully encouraged Wisconsin DNR to implement a water quality study for Mill Creek,a tributary to Petenwell/Castle Rock.
  • PACRS volunteers worked Clean Boats, Clean Waters boat inspections at several landings on Petenwell and Castle Rock.
  • ABC NEWS ran a segment in September 2012 interviewing PACR board member Tom Koren about blue-green algae conditions and the impact

2011

March 10, 2011 PACRS becomes 5013c non profit status

  • Installed 1,500 native plants near devil’s elbow to help take up nutrients and provide habitat. This project was done in partnership with Wisconsin River Power Company, Wisconsin DNR, and Adams County Land Conservation. Repeated in 2012.
  • Collected and identified species of blue-green algae for research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which is tracking the algae phenomenon.
  • Received River Champion Award from River Alliance of Wisconsin.

2010

  • PACRS was successful in keeping phosphorus rule in place by engaging in letter writing campaign to legislators.
  • 2nd Pontoon and Politics In attendance were DNR Sec Kathy Stepp, Rep Ed Brooks, Julie Lassa, Scott Krug, Herb Kohl’s assistant Colleen Thomas, and Tom Petri assistant Time Lakin
  • Began Carp Catch for testing at Wisconsin Department of Hygiene to determine dioxin and pcb levels.
  • Reached out to several other watershed and river friends groups and organized tours of farms and manufacturing facilities to learn more about water quality problems and to share our concerns about it.

2009

  • Held our First Pontoons and Politics tour of Lake Petenwell with area legislators to highlight the effects and negative impact of summer algae blooms. Rep. Marlin Schneider and other elected officials attended.
  • Collected data for 4 years on water clarity and other measures of water quality for local, state and federal agencies making management decisions about Wisconsin River
  • Succeeded in getting a new winter “drawdown” established for Lake Petenwell, designed to improve water quality and fish habitat, by working with Wisconsin DNR and Wisconsin River Power Co.
  • Attended and spoke at DNR public hearings in Eau Claire, Appleton, and Wausau in support of proposed phosphorus rule

Draw Down

In the winter of 2009, WRPCO (Wisconsin River Power Company), WDNR (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) and PACRS (Petenwell And Castle Rock Stewards), worked collaboratively to delay the winter draw down on Lake Petenwell in an attempt to have aquatic plants re-establish themselves.

Restoring the aquatic plant community in the littoral (between the high and low water levels) zone would improve fish and wildlife habitat as well as attenuate nutrients that otherwise could create serious algal blooms on the reservoir every year. A mutual agreement to postpone the draw down to after February 10 was reached. The winter of 2010 was the first year of the delayed draw down and then again in 2011 and 2012.

WRPCO will again implement the delayed drawn down on or about February 10, 2014, as long as safety is not an issue. After the vegetation survey is taken, we will have completed a 5 year study to determine if the delayed draw down is effective at stimulating aquatic plant growth.

PCO, planted aquatics in the upper reaches of Lake Petenwell in the summer of 2012 and 2013. These sites are not included in the plant surveys regarding the draw down.
We appreciate the cooperation and efforts WRPCO and WDNR have provided on this study.

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), together with many public and private partners throughout the basin, are working to improve water quality of the Wisconsin River, its reservoirs, and tributaries. The water quality improvement study will be undertaken in the form of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL study and implementation plan will provide a strategic framework and prioritize resources for water quality improvement in the Wisconsin River Basin. The Wisconsin River TMDL study area spans Wisconsin’s central corridor from the river’s headwaters in Vilas County to Lake Wisconsin in Columbia County, covering 9,156 square miles – approximately 15 percent of the state. Under existing conditions, many reservoirs and tributaries in the Wisconsin River do not meet water quality standards due to excess pollutant loads, meaning they are not suitable for their designated uses, such as fishing, wildlife habitat, and/or recreational activities such as boating and swimming. The Wisconsin River Basin total maximum daily load (TMDL) will determine the total amount of phosphorus and suspended solids that can be discharged into the river, its tributaries and reservoirs, and still meet water quality standards and develop a plan for achieving the needed reductions.

The study, which is slated for completion in 2017, was the result of local residents and business engaging their legislators by providing pontoon rides on Petenwell and Castle Rock Reservoirs in 2008. After these elected officials observed the water quality problems firsthand, the state legislature allocated funding for a water quality improvement project, and directed the WDNR to develop a TMDL. The TMDL incorporates various components including water quality monitoring, modeling, and an allocation process which will require proportional reductions in phosphorus upstream to achieve phosphorus goals in Petenwell and Castle Rock.

To learn more about how the WDNR and their partners are working to improve water quality in Petenwell and Castle Rock as well as the rest of the Wisconsin River Basin, please visit http://dnr.wi.gov/water/tmdls/wisconsin/