2024 Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers artwork

Virtual Agenda Links

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Click on the title of each session to read the description and find the “Join Now” link. For times where there is more than one presentation, the Join Now button will take you to where both sessions will be presented. 

All virtual presentations will be available via Zoom links. You will want to make sure you have the most updated version of Zoom, which you can check here: Updating Zoom to the latest version – Zoom Support.


Please do not share these links. A moderator will be in each Zoom meeting to answer any questions. 

Thursday, April 11
8-8:50 a.m.

This presentation will include a short history and overview of Wisconsin maple syrup, as well as feature maple syrup 101 basics. Attendees can learn how to make and bottle real Wisconsin maple syrup and what can cause off flavors in maple syrup. Join me to discover the great health benefits and various uses of Wisconsin maple syrup!

Presenter: Theresa Baroun, Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association

Session will not begin until 8:00 a.m. on April 11Click here to join this virtual session.

Wisconsin’s naviagable waters are publicly owned but waterfront property owners (“riparians”) enjoy their own sets of legal rights to use and enjoyment of their property. It can be confusing how the two fit together. In this intro level presentation, we’ll help clear up what your rights as a riparian really are and how they intersect with the rights of the public in Wisconsin.

Presenters: Atty. Jared Walker Smith, Boardman Clark and Michael Engleson, Executive Director, Wisconsin Lakes

Click here to join this virtual session.Session will not begin until 8:00 a.m. on April 11

Thursday, April 11
9:00-10:30 a.m.

Wisconsin Water Week ThursdayPanel

Thursday Welcome: Opening Remarks & Kickoff Plenary Panel: Celebrating 50 Years of Chapter 33

Thursday’s welcome and kickoff plenary session will include a look at the past, present and future of lake districts and Wisconsin’s unique lake law. William O’Connor will help us understand the early evolution of lake districts, drawing on nearly a half-Century of work as an educator, attorney, and advocate. He was one of the original authors of the citizen’s guide to Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 33, the lake district law. Mary Ellen Vollbrecht will share insights from a retired DNR manager who was deeply involved in state water policy since the 1980s, she now serves on the Wisconsin River Alliance Board of Directors. Eric Olson, Director of Extension Lakes, will share his views on the current issues facing lake districts and what their prospects might be for the future.   

Panelists: Bill O’Connor, Attorney, Boardman and Clark, Mary Ellen Vollbrecht, former DNR Deputy Secretary (retired), Eric Olson, Director, Extension Lakes

Session will not begin until 9:00 a.m. on April 11
Click here to join this virtual session.

Thursday, April 11
10:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Monitoring Program

Over the past 45 years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has monitored the state’s dynamic wolf population. We will discuss these monitoring techniques and how the department has incorporated the use of trained citizen scientists to assist in monitoring important wildlife populations, including wolves, since 1995. The volunteer carnivore tracking program was developed to collect wolf presence and count data for use in the state’s wolf monitoring program, promote collaboration among agencies and citizens in monitoring wildlife across the state, and collect monitoring data of other carnivore species on the landscape, including the potential existence of rare species such as Canada lynx, cougar, and wolverine.

Presenter: Annie McDonnell, WI Department of Natural Resources

Volunteer Acoustic Bat Monitoring Project

The acoustic bat monitoring project started as a grassroots effort in 2007 and has evolved into an annual past time for many volunteers that enjoy surveying their favorite waterway. We’ll discuss the basics of bat biology and acoustic bat monitoring, while also describing how this information helps the Department of Natural Resources.

Presenters: J. Paul White, WI Department of Natural Resources and Licia Kuckkahn Johnson, North Lakeland Discovery Center (Innovative)

Click here to join this virtual session.Session will not begin until 10:40 a.m. on April 11

Wake Assessment at Three Water Bodies in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri

Natural and man-made waves play an important part of managing shorelines in lakes and riverine environments with a high degree of recreational activity. In this presentation, we will present findings of wave and wake activity in Lauderdale Lakes, WI, Fox River, IL, and Lake of the Ozarks, MO. Assessments will introduce the departure and potential difference in magnitude of natural and manmade waves along with mitigation efforts, both programmatic and project related.

Presenter: Brian Valleskey, Geosyntec (Climate Change)

Wake Boat Impacts on a Small Southeast Wisconsin Lake

During the summer of 2023, the Ashippun Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District, in coordination with Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, concluded a study of wake boat impacts on this small Southeast Wisconsin lake. Ashippun Lake is relatively small (<100 acres) and shallow (35 ft), and the lake bottom provides a significantly different bathymetric topography between north and south shores. The study investigated comparative wake heights and shoreline turbidity of a speed boat with those of a wake boat operated in wake boarding and wake surfing modes at various distances from shore. Study methodologies closely mimicked those of a recent study from the University of Minnesota. A NOAA calculator provided an estimated wind speed correlate for the various powerboat derived wakes. Results revealed a significant impact of lake bottom contour on wave height at the shore, differences between wake boarding and wake surfing waves, and a modest affect on near shore turbidity.

Presenter: Paul Gardetto and Geoff Lamb, Ashippun Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District (Innovative)

Click here to join this virtual session.Session will not begin until 10:40 a.m. on April 11

Thursday, April 11
1:45-2:25 p.m.

Have you thanked algae today for all the things they’ve done for you? Algae support life in our lakes and rivers in their position as the base of aquatic food webs, and they make the oxygen that we breathe. Meet some of the algae that grow in our waterways, from Nostoc “lake plums” to beautifully intricate diatoms and desmids. Catch a glimpse of the tiny underwater worlds which are visible only with a microscope. You will gain a better appreciation for these essential members of our aquatic communities.

Presenter: Gina LaLiberte, WI Department of Natural Resources (Introductory)

Click here to join this virtual session.Session will not begin until 1:45 p.m. on April 11

In this session, WI’s Green Fire will report out on their recent report and conclusions regarding the science around the impacts of enhanced wakes on lake ecosystems.

Presenter: David Ortiz, Wisconsin’s Green Fire

Click here to join this virtual session.

Session will not begin until 1:45 p.m. on April 11

Thursday, April 11
2:35-3:15 p.m.

Step into the enchanting world of salamanders and uncover their fascinating realm. Shedding their creepy-crawly stereotype, you’ll discover the richness and magic these creatures bring to our ecosystems. We’ll talk about all of the species you will find here in Wisconsin, but also explore the area with the highest biodiversity of salamanders in the world.

Presenter: Jamie VandenLangenberg, North Lakeland Discovery Center

Session will not begin until 2:35 p.m. on April 11Click here to join this virtual session.

Statewide standards for enhanced wakes received intense consideration by the Wisconsin legislature in late 2023 and early 2024, but in the end nothing (bad or good) came of it. So what happened, and what does the future hold? In this session, we’ll take a deep dive into the issue to see what we can learn from what just happened and how it can instruct us on a path forward.

Michael Engleson, Executive Director, Wisconsin Lakes

Session will not begin until 2:35 p.m. on April 11Click here to join this virtual session.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday, April 12
8-8:50 a.m.

Walleyes for Tomorrow

Who are Walleyes for Tomorrow? Learn about our history, hatchery operations, and how to start a chapter in your area. Also hear about the groups we work with and support.

Presenter: Ken VanDenPlas, Walleyes for Tomorrow Shawano

Wisconsin Walleye: Now and Into the Future

Walleye are one of the most popular species of fish in Wisconsin, prized by both anglers and tribal harvesters. The Wisconsin DNR recently completed a statewide planning effort for the future of walleye. Come hear about what is in the plan, the work that has already started, and how partners can help create great walleye resources.

Presenter: Max Wolter, WI Department of Natural Resources

Session will not begin until 8:00 a.m. on April 12Click here to join this virtual session.

In 2016, the Green Lake Association made a bold shift by prioritizing storytelling over securing silent auctions at their annual fundraiser, leading to a transformative program pillar model. Discover how this model has seamlessly integrated into their strategic plan, annual budget, and communication tools to become the backbone of their organization. Join our session to gain invaluable insights into leveraging program pillars for your lake organization. Learn how to align your efforts, boost capacity, and enhance effective communication. We’ll provide practical take-away messages, equipping you to implement this game-changing framework in your own initiatives. Uncover the potential of program pillars in driving sustainable and impactful lake conservation efforts. You’ll leave with strategies to elevate your organization’s mission and grow your fundraising potential. Join us to learn from the Green Lake Association’s success and steer your lake-focused endeavors toward greater effectiveness.

Presenter: Stephanie Prellwitz, Green Lake Association

Session will not begin until 8:00 a.m. on April 12Click here to join this virtual session.

Friday, April 12
9:15-10:15 a.m.

GLIFWC has labeled wild rice as the most vulnerable being to climate change in their recent climate change assessment. Join Kathy Smith (GLIFWC), Peter David (retired wildlife biologist), and Dave Grandmaisson (WI DNR) as they discuss the sacred cultural importance of manoomin; what is happening to steward and protect it; and how you might engage in such efforts as a lake or river organization or group.

Facilitator: Johnson Bridgwater, River Alliance

Presenters: Peter David and Kathleen Smith, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) and Dave Grandmaisson, WI Department of Natural Resources (Climate Change, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion)

Session will not begin until 9:15 a.m. on April 12Click here to join this virtual session.

WDNR Surface Water Grants: Program Overview and How to Apply

Annually, the WI Department of Natural Resources Surface Water Grant program provides funding to support a wide range of projects that protect and restore lakes, rivers, and wetlands throughout Wisconsin. Program staff will present on the multitude of subprograms, discuss key steps to successful project development, and provide you with the additional resources you need to apply.

Presenters: Jen Jefferson, Laura MacFarland, and Sarah Fanning, WI Department of Natural Resources (Introductory, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion)

Increasing your Lake Organization’s Capacity Using the Northern Lakes Toolbox

Wisconsin’s lakes are some of our most valued resources. There are approximately 750 lake associations and districts across the state, representing thousands of lakeshore owners and enthusiasts working on stewardship. While many training opportunities exist, fully engaging in lake management is often beyond the capacity of lake groups. To address this need, in August/September Wisconsin’s Green Fire piloted two Northern Lakes Toolbox workshops. The goal was to provide lake leaders with tools to obtain and interpret data about their lake – and to use the information to make lake planning and management decisions. Specific workshop objectives included retrieval and review of available lake information, identification of data gaps, charting a path towards data collection, planning, and lake management, providing an overview of WI Department of Natural Resources Surface Water Grant Program ($6 million granted for lake management annually), and identifying methods for increasing the capacity of lake groups. We will share workshop evaluation results as participants completed pre- and post-workshop surveys describing their experience and post-workshop recommendations.

Presenters: Mike Meyer and Jim Kreitlow, NOVA Ecological Services and Terry Daulton, Wisconsin’s Green Fire (Introductory)

Session will not begin until 9:15 a.m. on April 12Click here to join this virtual session.

Friday, April 12
10:45-11:45 a.m.

Fascinating Species of Wisconsin Waters

Wisconsin’s waters are full of (and surrounded by) fascinating plants and animals, many of which are easily overlooked due to their size or habitat. This presentation will discuss many of these species so you can recognize and appreciate them!

Presenter: Paul Skawinski, Extension Lakes, UW-Stevens Point (Introductory)

Hidden Water Creatures

When we hear the word “lake” or “stream/river” we often think of fish, frogs, turtles, and plants. However, did you know there is an entire world within the water that is virtually invisible? Join us to learn about all the critters that play vital roles in lakes and streams that are “hidden” from most eyes.

Presenter: Emily Heald, UW-Madison Division of Extension (Introductory)

Session will not begin until 10:45 a.m. on April 12

Click here to join this virtual session.

What does the next 10 years look like for the beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin? Join us to explore our progressive 10-year roadmap for Elkhart Lake – showcasing cutting-edge data and innovative technologies enhancing our approach to aquatic ecosystem management. We dive into the myriad of water technology tools, from environmental water quality lab testing to real-time in-situ data buoy readings, that we leverage to assess the health and vitality of our lakes. By blending traditional wisdom with modern data-driven methodologies, our strategies intend to be holistic and impactful, aiming for cleaner and safer waters for generations to come. We will reflect on our progressive endeavors over the past 56 years and showcase our plans to elevate our impact in the upcoming decade. Our goal is to share and assimilate invaluable insights from fellow Wisconsin lake associations. Attendees will leave feeling inspired and equipped to develop new partnerships and implement innovative strategies for their own lakes.

Presenters: Sarah Majerus, Stantec and Kevin Sofen, Elkhart Lake Improvement Association Board Member (Innovative)

Session will not begin until 10:45 a.m. on April 12Click here to join this virtual session.

12:00-2:00 p.m.

Friday Confluence: Critical and Creative Thinking About Our Waters with Natasha Kassulke and Jerry Apps

Friday Confluence: Critical and Creative Thinking About Our Waters

The definition of confluence:

  • The junction of two rivers, especially rivers of approximately equal width;
  • an act or process of merging

Your registration includes a delicious lunch on Friday which will be followed by two celebrated rural storytellers/authors, Jerry Apps and Natasha Kassulke, who will share ideas on critical and creative thinking related to the environmental challenges that we face.

Kassulke is a former journalist for the Wisconsin State Journal and former editor of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Today, she directs communications for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and teaches journalism courses part-time at Madison College. She and her husband, Steve Apps, live in Madison, Wisconsin.

Apps is a former county extension agent and is now professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he taught for thirty years. Today he works as a rural historian and full-time writer and is the author of many books on rural history, country life, and the environment. He has created six-hour-long documentaries with PBS Wisconsin, has won several awards for his writing, and won a regional Emmy Award for the TV program A Farm Winter. Jerry and his wife, Ruth, have three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandsons. They divide their time between their home in Madison, Wisconsin, and their farm, Roshara, in Waushara County.

Apps and Kassulke will guide us through reflection, allowing for a confluence of ideas with other Convention participants while developing ways to share the information you received with your friends and neighbors.

In Session(we began a bit early)Click here to join this virtual session.