Our purpose is to facilitate education, research and sharing between organizations, individuals, governmental bodies and the genera! public of Sawyer County; to maintain and improve Sawyer County's water bodies, environs, and watersheds for now and future generations, including, but not limited to: aesthetics, water quality, wildlife habitat, fisheries, and recreation. These purposes will be accomplished while respecting the rights of property owners.

2016 Annual Meeting


Saturday, June 11, 2016
8:30 am to 12:00 pm
Comfort Suites
Hayward, WI
The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Sawyer County Lakes Forum will be on Saturday, June 11, 9 A.M. at the Comfort Suites, Hayward on Highway “B” . Registration. coffee and rolls available at 8:30 A.M. Guest speakers will include Dale Hanson, Gerry Lisi, and Dan Hersher and their topic will be “ The Effect of Global Warming on the Lakes and Rivers of Northern Wisconsin”. Guest speaker Jay Kozlowski, County Zoning & Sanitation Technician, will give an update on county zoning regulations including any changes that have resulted from the State Budget of 2015. As always, there will be time for open discussion of any issues that lake associations might be working on. This meeting is open to anyone who is interested in the health of the water quality of Sawyer County lakes and streams.

2016 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference


Friday, June 24, 2016
9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Spooner High School
Spooner, WI
Sponsored by the lakes and rivers associations of Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Sawyer and Washburn Counties, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Lakes, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College. For more informaiton and registration, click here.

Special Summary Notice


Special summary of information important to SCLF from last board meeting; click here.

Web-based Story Mapping Presentation


Saturday January 30, 2016
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Sherman & Ruth Weiss Community Library
Hayward, WI
The Moose Lake Legacy Initiative documented the important ecological and aesthetic assets on Moose Lake. The assembled story maps highlight important assets on Moose Lake and then overlay the parcel boundary to indicate ownership rights and responsibilities. Maps like these democratize information making it available to land trusts, individual land owners and others, to identify important land resources worthy of conservation, all linked to the most fundamental unit of land management – the parcel boundary.

2015 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference


Friday, June 26, 2015
8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Hayward High School
Hayward, WI
Sponsored by the lakes and rivers, associations of Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Sawyer and Washburn Counties, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Lakes, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College. This is the first time it has been held in Hayward. At past conferences there have been over 200 attendees who come from several counties in this part of the state. If you cannot get to the Wisconsin Lakes State Conference at Steven Point this is a great way to keep up to date with the latest measures for taking core of your lake and knowing how to do it. Presenters will come from all parts of the state and will address topics about Muskies, Walleyes, Wetlands, Lakeshore Restoration and more.

Registration brochure: here.

Registration brochure: here.

Webinar on WI DNR Healthy Lakes initiative


Learn about Wisconsin’s Healthy Lakes Implementation Plan (Plan), corresponding best practices, and grant funding details. There will be Q&A time at the end of the on-line presentation, and it will be recorded for future viewing. The webinar coincides with release of the final Plan and Fact Sheets – also coming next week.

Check out this press release for more information

Special Fishing Regulation Proposal


Proposed Regulation: Remove the minimum length limit for largemouth bass on five lakes that comprise two chains (Lac Courte Oreilles and Round) in Sawyer County; and concurrently apply a 18-inch minimum length limit with daily bag limit of 1 to smallmouth bass on those waters. Read the full proposal here.

AIS Coffee Hour this Friday, July 18th


Kristy Maki will be a AIS Coffee Hour this Friday, July 18th at 10:30 a.m. at the Weiss Community Library. The topic this month is Aquatic Plant ID. She’ll have a lot of plant specimens to look at and give tips on identifying native plants versus invasives. Please come and spread the word to others that might be interested.



The WI DNR joined with the MN DNR and MI DEQ to produce a public service announcement about aquatic invasive species.

Here’s a link to the video: http://youtu.be/jkyHjIGPdyw

AIS Coffe Hours


AIS Coffee Hours will be starting on June 27th. There will be one Coffee Hour each month through October. All Coffee Hours will be at the Weiss Community Library from 10:30-11:30 in the Community Meeting Room. Coffee and refreshments will be served. Here is the schedule. All topics are tentative and may be changed based on speaker availability, but the dates are certain.

  • June 27th New year, new projects, what should you know about?
  • July 18th Plant identification
  • August 22nd Chippewa Flowage Drawdown
  • September 19th New Discoveries and Lessons from 2014
  • October 10th WI DNR AIS Grants

Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference Returns to Drummond June 20


Plan now to attend the 2014 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference, which will return to Drummond this year and will be held on Friday, June 20 at the Drummond High School. This popular regional gathering has turned into one of the state’s premier lake conferences. The all day program provides a great opportunity for lake enthusiasts, local government officials and others interested in protecting our water resources to attend a number of educational presentations, visit many informative exhibits and network with fellow conference attendees.

North American Loon Symposium


This year the North American Loon Symposium is coming to Ashland, WI on October 25th and 26th. Loon Watch and Erica LeMoine have worked hard to support and coordinate our regions loon ranger program and to maintain interest in protecting Common Loons across NW Wisconsin through numerous training sessions, presentations and displays here in NW Wisconsin. If you are interesetd in supporting the National Symposium, review the attached sponsorship form and consider supporting the conference. See attached brochure for details.

Lake Septic Survey


Sawyer County is still looking for a lake (or group of small lakes) to do a septic survey on for 2014. The cost is nominal. If you are interesetd, you can contact Eric Wellauer.

West Nile Virus Confirmed in Sawyer County


A dead crow found in Couderay on July 17 has tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Sawyer County Health Public Health office. This is the first bird that has tested positive since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

“The positive bird means that residents of Sawyer County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites,” said county health officer Eileen Simak. FULL NEWS ARTICLE

Annual Lakes Forum Meeting to Hear Invasive Species Reports

The Sawyer County Lakes Forum Annual Meeting, Saturday morning, June 15th, at the Flat Creek Eatery in Hayward, will hear a series of reports on the attempts and vicissitudes of managing treatment of aquatic invasive species in the lakes of Sawyer County. Controversy over the appropriateness of treatments to eradicate curly leaf pondweed (CLP), as well as other invasive species, has prompted this year’s focus to address these concerns. PRESS RELEASE

NEW Lake Life Pocketbook

It's finally here! The Lake Life Pocketbook The Lake Life Pocketbook was complied by James A. Brakken, local historian, author & conservationist. Funding for the Sawyer County Lake Forum’s Lake Life Pocketbook was made possible by a Wisconsin DNR Lakes Planning Education Grant and additional contributions from generous lake associations in Sawyer County, Wisconsin. Contents of this booklet were written &/or compiled with permission or credit. Hard copies will be available very soon, but get an early peek here.

“For Love of Lakes”

Biologist Darby Nelson, author of “For Love of Lakes,” will speak about challenges facing water protection on Tuesday, May 7, at 7 p.m. at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, Ashland, WI. Click on this link for directions and a campus map: http://www.northland.edu/directions-campus-map.htm

Nelson received his doctorate in aquatic ecology from the University of Minnesota and served three terms as a Minnesota state lawmaker. In his book, Nelson writes about how people’s behavior can be contrary to their desire to protect water quality. He will speak about how some fail to grasp the impacts of land use on water. “We see what we want to see, and we ignore what we don’t like,” Nelson said. “The perception of a lake is unbelievably different than the perception of a terrestrial ecosystem…you can’t see 99 percent of what’s in the lake so it alters people’s perception.”

For more information about the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and guest speakers: www.northland.edu/sigurd-olson-environmental-institute-overview.htm

Lake Workshop Series Offered in Polk County

A great series of lake workshops are being offered by the Polk County Association of Lakes and the Polk County Land and Water Resource Department this spring (once the snow melts). These issues are of importance with many lakes and lake groups across NW Wisconsin. The sessions will be held at the Balsam Lake Polk County Justice Center. Click on the days below to view the agenda for the workshops for each date.

  1. How Lakes Work – Lake Science for Anyone Saturday, May 4th, 9-11:30 am
  2. Understand Your Lake or River and Users; then Set Goals Tuesday, May 14th, 6:30 pm
  3. Bringing It All Together with Positive Results Tuesday, June 4th, 6:30-9 pm

Registration available on-line at http://pcalr.org/

New NWLC Poster

The 2013 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference will be held Friday, June 21, 2013 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Spooner Shigh School in Spooner, WI. For more information contact Wisconsin Lakes at 1-800-542-5253 in Wis. or (608) 661-4313 or www.wisconsinlakes.org.

Click here for a copy of this year'’s poster compliments of Tim Kane. Please share with others.

Click here for a copy of this year'’s registration form. Please share with others.

Action Alert!

Contact your legislators in support of a stronger, well-funded state program to control Aquatic Invasive Species!

Help get the Wisconsin Lakes Proposal for AIS Control into the 2013-15 Wisconsin State Budget

State Capitol from across Lake Monona at duskGovernor Walker's recently released state budget proposal for 2013-15 does not contain any new programs or funding for aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Click here for more information and links to help you contact your legislators.

AIS Coffee Hour

Does your lake association want to apply for a DNR grant to fund an AIS (aquatic invasive species) project? What does it take to write a grant? How involved should it be? What resources are available? Ask questions in an informal atmosphere and get ready to write a grant!

Join Kristy Maki, the Sawyer County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator and the WI DNR’s Lake Management Coordinator, Alex Smith, to discuss WI DNR’s AIS Grants.

AIS Coffee Hour
Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10 A.M.
Weiss Community Library Meeting Room
Sponsored by Sawyer County Zoning and Conservation

Website Problems

You may have noticed our absense in this past summer--it's a long story I would be happy to share with you, but the end result is that "WE ARE BACK ONLINE"


If you have found us again, you will note we have a new website address (techically a URL). Please update your bookmarks to the new address. If you notice our old weblink on other websites, please drop me a note so I can have that link corrected. Finally, we are always open to new content ideas--feel free to contribute.

2011 Wisconsin Act 170 and Nonconforming Structures

On April 2, 2012, Governor Walker signed 2011 Wisconsin Act 170 (Act 170), which modifies the regulation of nonconforming structures in s. 59.69(10) and s. 59.692 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Act 170 represents a significant change in statewide policy governing nonconforming structures, and reduced the flexibility counties had in the development of a shoreland ordinance that more stringently regulated nonconforming structures and substandard lots in shoreland zones. In fulfillment of its duty, under s. 281.31, Wis. Stats, the department has developed this memo to provide general recommendations for counties to utilize in their shoreland zoning ordinance, and to answer questions that have arisen regarding interpretation and implementation of Act 170 as it relates to Wisconsin’s shoreland protection program.

Additional information as of May 17, 2012. Common Questions & Answers Regarding Act 170 and NR 115

Book Sales Benefit Sawyer County Lakes Forum


Order The Treasure of Namakagon, by local author Jim Brakken, here and $3 will go to the SCLF! Recommended by Michale Perry and Waldo Asp.

An 1883 lost treasure and lumberjack adventure set in Chicago, Hayward and Cable. 26 fact-based stories combined into one thrilling tale. Great summer reading for all ages. Re-live the lives of the lumberjacks!

2012 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference

The agenda for the upcoming 2012 Northwest Wisconsin Lakes Conference (Friday June 22, 2012, Spooner High School, Spooner Wisconsin) can be downloaded/viewed here (PDF File)

Wetlands Deregulation Bill Introduced Into Assembly and Senate

Two Public Hearings to be Held
  • Assembly Natural Resources Committee
    Tue, Jan 10 at 10:30am
    412 East, State Capitol, Madison

  • Senate Natural Resources Committee
    Thr, Jan 12 at 1:00pm
    411 South, State Capitol, Madison

Identical proposals were introduced in each house of the legislature in early January that would ease the regulation of wetlands in the state that do not fall under federal regulation (AB463 in the Assembly and SB368 in the Senate). The Natural Resources Committees of each house scheduled separate hearings on the measure, with the Assembly meeting Tuesday and the Senate on Thursday.

Some of the bill's key features include:

  • Increased use of mitigation, without requiring consideration of alternate development sites located in a non-wetland areas
  • Elimination of references to "Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest"
  • Allowing impacts to exceptional wetland resources which, under current law, are usually discouraged or off limits
  • DNR is allowed to consider economic value of a project when deciding whether to approve destruction of a wetland
  • Expanded use of general permits, especially for smaller wetlands

Even though the first hearing may have passed by the time you read this, or you may not be able to make all the hearings, you can still influence the fate of this legislation by contacting your legislators, as well as the chairs of the committees and Governor Walker.

Lake St. Croix Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report Available for Public Comment in Wisconsin


The Lake St. Croix Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report is now available for public comment in Wisconsin. The St. Croix Basin Water Resources Planning Team has been involved in goal setting and TMDL development over the past several years. This group includes state, local and federal agencies and partners from both Wisconsin and Minnesota. The TMDL covers loadings and reduction goals by sub-watershed for each state, as well as point source limits for all dischargers with specific permits. The overall goal is to reduce the inputs of phosphorus by 20% (100 metric tons) and return Lake St. Croix (the lower 25 miles of the river) to pre-1940's conditions. After accounting for natural background levels, this will require a net decrease of about 35 to 40% from point and non-point sources.

Mews Release: Public meetings set on effort to restore health of St. Croix River

Report and More Information: Draft October 2011

Wisconsin DNR will be holding two public hearings on the TMDL. The public informational meetings will be held on Tuesday, January 31 at these locations and times:

  • Siren: 10 a.m. Room 165 on the first floor of the Burnett County Government Center, 7410 County Road K.
  • Hudson: 7 p.m. in the Community Room, lower level of the St. Croix County Government Center, 1101 Carmichael Road.

DNR staff will be available for informal questions 30 minutes before the scheduled hearings and for a short interval immediately following.

New Grants Awarded


Good news! Sawyer County did very well in the last round of AIS grants from the Wisconsin DNR! The Sawyer County AIS program was funded along with other lake association proposals. Total funding for the county: $352,071.50. The awards list can be downloaded here (Excel File) or here (PDF File) for your information.

Board Members Elected at the Fall meeting

The Sawyer County Lakes Forum elected board members at the Fall Meeting Saturday morning, September 17th, at the Comfort Suites in Hayward.

Elected for two-year terms were:

  • Chris Jeffords
  • Dan tyrolt
  • Al Reinemann
  • Peter Howe
  • Martin Hanson
  • No nominations recieved

Elected for one-year terms were:

  • Bill Czeskleba
  • Waldo Asp

Continuing on the board are:

  • Mary Ann Churchill
  • Phil Nies
  • Paul Schwister
  • Jim Genrich

DNR Boat Landing Signs Available

imageDNR boat landing signs that inlcude the message, "Prevent the spread of invasive species..." are available for public boat landings and private landings that have high use. The signs are FREE. Sawyer County installed 70 signs last summer at public landings. Private landings such as resorts, marinas, and resturants would be other logical sites. To request a sign, contact Kristy Maki by phone at 715.634.6463 or by email at invasives@sawyercountygov.org

Namekagon River Partnership

A newly formed citizen-volunteer river organization in northwest Wisconsin, , Namekagon River Partnership, is working to celebrate and conserve this national treasure. The steering group is currently working to formally define and set-up the organization. The group aspires to be a positive and proactive voice of the river, and to increase the visibility of the river and its history to local residents. Their plan is to monitor water quality and study the river’s cold/cool water. A meeting will be held in Seeley at the Sawmill Saloon on Thursday, September 22nd at 7pm to announce the organization, answer questions, and listen to comments and suggestions. The new organization has a website: Namekagon River Partnership (http://namekagon.org)

Aerial Photos of Your Favorite Sawyer and Bayfield County Lakes Now Available


High Resolution Aerial Photos of Bayfield County Lakes and Sawyer County Lakes are now available for purchase. Support BCLF's and SCLF's work PLUS you can benefit your own lake association by ordering these great prints! More aerial photos of Bayfield and Sawyer County Lakes coming soon. Click here for more information.

New 2011 Sawyer County Lakes Forum Newsletter


The Sawyer County Lakes Forum has copies of this 12 page newsletter that will be distributed free to all member lake associations in the county. There are many articles that concern shoreline homeowners, about how to keep the waters of our lakes and rivers clean and how to protect the wildlife around us. Photos of all of our county lakes are available for purchase.

If your lake association would like these FREE newsletters please contact Mary Ann Churchill at 715-462-9140 or at machu@centurytel.net with the number of copies that you need.

New Sawyer County Zoning Shoreland-Wetland Protection Ordinance Moving Forward


We recently received the following information from Sawyer County Zoning and Conservation:

"Right now we are in the stages of having the Zoning and Conservation (ZAC) Committee review the proposed ordinance. After their “thoughts” we need to have a class II publication of a public hearing ordinance for 2 consecutive weeks in the “official” newspaper. Notice must be send to the town clerks 10 days prior to this hearing. After that it will go back to ZAC where they will then need to send to County Board (towns do not have approval authority). Then publication of a Class I notice for effective date of ordinance."

Latest Copy of Ordinance

Comparative Copy of Ordinance Showing Last Edits

New Sawyer County Zoning Shoreland-Wetland Protection Ordinance


A citizens committee was formed by the Sawyer County Lakes Forum (SCLF) to provide to the County a proposed ordinance to comply with NR 115.

Copy of SCLF Letter to Sawyer County Zoning and Conservation Committee

Copy of Draft Ordinance

Lake Connection Electronically


Extend the Lake Connection to all your group's members!

Is your lake association or lake district a member of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes?

Want all of your members to receive The Lake Connection electronically?

Just like other non-profit organizations, the Wisconsin Association of Lakes (WAL) has been challenged by the current economy. By participating in our electronic delivery program you will help our organization increase its efficiency and remain nimble as we focus on effectively advocating for Wisconsin's 15,000 lakes.

WAL has extended electronic delivery of The Lake Connection to all contacts of our member lake groups!

Send full contact information for your members--name, address, city, state, zip, and of course e-mail address--to publications@wisconsinlakes.org. Be sure to include the name of your lake group on your list!

Sawyer County Lakes Forum

News and Events

Next Full Meeting

The 2016 Annual Meeting, Saturday, June 11, 8:30 a.m., at Comfort Suites, Hayward. Read more...


06.07.13 Sunset on Round Lake

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