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New group aims to help Lake Country waterways
Posted June 25, 2015

By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel

Citing a need to "further enhance water conservation efforts in Lake Country," local residents recently formed a nonprofit group called the Clean Water Association.

Among its goals: improve and protect Lake Country waterways through fundraising, education and volunteer support.

The organization will introduce itself to the public next weekend as it partners with the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club to present the 5th annual Lake Country Clean Water Festival in Pewaukee.

The event is Friday and Saturday at Lakefront Park on Pewaukee Lake.

The festival aims to raise awareness and funding for the preservation of Lake Country waterways. Since 2011, the festival has raised more than $32,000 to fund local groups focused on improving water quality and educating the public about local water ecology.

The festival includes education tents, food, live music and water-related recreation, including water-skiing lessons, fishing and paddle sports.

The education displays will include representatives and information from groups including the Pewaukee Lake Sanitary District, Walleyes For Tomorrow, Pewaukee River Partnership and the Clean Water Association.

Don Heilman, executive director of the Clean Water Association, said the organization is focusing on education, monitoring and urban and rural actions.

The group's goals include:

■ Developing water-quality education programs for kids through adults to raise awareness of the need for lake protection efforts.

■ Having the association and citizen volunteers monitor water quality and aggregate data by partnering with the United States Geological Survey and Department of Natural Resources. This will help the group make informed decisions and evaluate the efficacy of water conservation and lake protection practices.

■ Developing mechanisms to educate and inform residents about how they can help protect local waterways. The aim is to show that from leaf-raking to lawn care, citizens have a stake in the reduction of pollutants to Lake Country waterways.

■ Working to educate the public about responsible manure management, implementation of cover crops and reducing tillage and how these practices help keep phosphorus from entering lakes and nitrogen from entering wells. The group also hopes to raise money to implement these strategies.

The Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club founded the Lake Country Clean Water Festival to highlight the importance of preserving area waterways.

Jeff Lee, president of the club, said his group was thrilled to be partnering with the association for this year's festival and looked forward to working with the new organization.

"By committing to the preservation and continued sustainability of our beautiful lakes and waterways, we can continue to enjoy the water and appreciate its value to our community for generations to come," Lee said.

The 2015 Lake Country Clean Water Festival is sponsored by A.O. Smith, Cargill, Pentair, Badger Meter, Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, Total Water Treatment Systems, Reputation Partners, Strigenz Design, The Boat House – Lake Country and Mod-U-Dock.

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“If we don’t take care of it, we won’t have it:” Keeping the waters clear at Lake Country Clean Water Festival
Posted June 25, 2015


PEWAUKEE -- We're well into festival season in Milwaukee and many of the events are focused around food or music. However, a festival in Pewaukee is working towards cleaner water in southeast Wisconsin.

It was a perfect Saturday to enjoy the sun and sand at Pewaukee Lake.

Many began the morning with a pancake breakfast and dancing at the annual Pewaukee Kiwanis Beach Party and Lake Country Clean Water Festival.

"We love the music, the family atmosphere, it's a lot of fun," said Jenny Bernicky, festival goer.

But this festival is as much fun as it is educational. Their goal is to raise awareness of the importance of clean water.

"It is a natural resource that if we don't take care of it, we won't have it," said Jeff Lee, President of the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club.

Several booths were set up to teach the community about water safety and how it effects animals and what we can do to preserve our water ways.

"Every day that we don't do anything, it gets worse. By focusing on the efforts now, we can start to make a dent quicker," said Lee.

In 2010, the beach was closed about 50% of the season due to E. coli bacteria from the seagulls that used to fly around the area.

"People feed them, so then they hang around, the defecate on the beach and when it rains it goes into the water," said Lee.

The Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club wanted to change that, so they created the Clean Water Association and threw their first festival in 2011. They raised enough money to buy a seagull deterrent system.

"They're solar powered spheres that spit around on a motor and the light is an irritant to the gull," said Lee.

And since their installation, the beach has never been closed.

The Bernicky family comes to the beach every chance they get, and knowing it's clean makes the mom of 3-year-old, Mason, feel at ease.

"It's very reassuring knowing that he's safe," said Bernicky.

The festival wrapped up Saturday evening with a water ski show and live music.

Since 2011, the Clean Water Festival has raised more than $32,000 that went towards clean water efforts.


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New technology to re-route birds to prevent E. coli at Pewaukee Lake
Posted: May 28, 2012


PEWAUKEE — E. coli has been a nuisance to those who enjoy Pewaukee Lake during recent summers, and now, the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club has donated $5,000 for purchase of technology designed to reroute birds’ flight patterns away from the Lakefront Park Beach, in hopes of keeping E. coli out of the lake.
The money was raised through the ski club`s organization of the first Lake Country Clean Water Festival held in conjunction with the Pewaukee Kiwanis Beach Party last summer.
A dedication ceremony was held on Memorial Day (May 28th) at Lakefront Park, after which the ski club performed its first show of the 2012 season.
“In 2009, we missed 40 percent of our shows because the beach was closed due to E. coli. It`s a ghost town when the beach is closed. We asked ourselves, `How can we be part of the solution?’” Jeff Friess, trustee of the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club and founder of the event said.
The technology designed to fight E. coli is a bird deterrent system called the ‘Eagle Eye’. The system involves a reflective pyramid that rotates to send light beams out in a menacing pattern. The light spectrum causes birds to deviate in flight to locate an alternative destination.

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Pewaukee ski club battles gulls
Posted: May 25, 2012


Pewaukee - Gulls and other water-loving birds have been party poopers at Pewaukee Lake, where a local water ski club official said the group canceled 40% of its shows in 2010 because of E. coli contamination at the beach.

This year the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club, which kicks off its show season at 5:30 p.m. on Memorial Day, is fighting back.

Club members raised $5,000 last year for two contraptions designed to shoo birds off in other directions. The spinning gadgets, called Eagle Eyes, were installed last week on two light posts at the beach along Wisconsin Ave. They are designed to reflect flashes of sunlight off multifaceted surfaces of four-sided pyramids, disorienting the birds and disrupting their flight patterns.

Think of it as a mirror ball effect, a familiar concept these days thanks to Donald Driver's dancing prowess that won him the mirror ball trophy on "Dancing With the Stars" this week.

Joyce Shepet, secretary of the water ski club, said beach closings over the past three years prompted members to see what they could do to clean up the mess left by gulls. Last year, the beach was closed three times and swimming advisories were issued three other times, according to Waukesha County records.

The ski club held its first Lake Country Clean Water Festival - the second is planned for June 22-23 at the beach - to raise awareness and money so swimmers, skiers, fishermen and others can keep enjoying Lake Country lakes.

The water ski club typically has shows on Pewaukee Lake every Thursday at 6:45 p.m. through the summer.

While many things contribute to a dirty lake, "the biggest red flags are at the beach because the darned seagulls and geese sit there all night and do their thing on the sand," said Tom Koepp, Lake Pewaukee Sanitary District manager. "It sits there and ferments," and then rain washes it into the lake.

Travis McCormack, a manager at Migratory Bird Management, who contacted the village and ski club, is working on the problem and installed the Eagle Eye technology.

"There is no 100% deterrent," he said.

The Illinois-based firm with an office in Brookfield builds and manages site-specific plans to deal with nuisance birds. It uses a variety of techniques, including geese-chasing border collies at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee County, to chemical applications on turf, wire grid systems and oiling goose eggs so they don't develop and hatch.

Clients range from public beach managers to homeowners associations to high-rise office buildings, including many in downtown Chicago.

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'Eagle Eye' sought to fend off gulls from Pewaukee beach
Posted: May 7, 2012


Village of Pewaukee - What to do about the birds? In recent years, seagulls have invaded the lakefront like the small northern California town that was terrorized in Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The Birds."

While life hasn't really been imitating art in this case - Tippi Hedren has not been attacked, and Suzanne Pleshette has not been killed - Pewaukee beach has been sporadically closed from time to time due to high E. coli counts, and now the village plans to do something about it.

Sources of E. coli include droppings from birds, dogs and other animals; runoff from residential streets and yards; and human fecal matter or urine in the water. The bacteria can cause some nasty symptoms, inconvenience beachgoers and mean fewer customers for business owners.

On May 1, the Village Board agreed to pursue an avenue that may alleviate the health hazard. Trustees said they would accept a donation for two Eagle Eye bird-control systems. Two units will be placed atop light poles near the beach. The pyramid- shaped unit rotates and reflects light from sunlight or artificial light. The light spectrum reflected by the unit disorients birds in flight by limiting their vision significantly, causing them to deviate in flight and fly in another direction, according to a brochure for the unit.

The unit operates off a solar panel that charges a 12-volt battery.

The brochure notes that some reflections could irritate people in nearby buildings. Deflectors can be installed to reduce that issue, the brochure said.

In response to a question by Trustee Jeff Knutson, Village Administrator Scott Gosse said the goal is to disperse and get rid of the seagulls in order to lower the levels of E. coli.

Gosse said Harley-Davidson uses the system, and he contacted the motorcycle manufacturer and was informed the company is pleased with the results and is looking to get more.

"The goal is to ease the closure of the beach," Gosse said.

Last year the beach was closed for a short time in July due to high E. coli levels. The beach was also closed from June 24-July 8, 2010. And in 2008 the beach was closed for an extended period, though that closure was due to blue-green algae.

Knutson asked about the possible adverse affects on residents in the nearby condominium building as well as the retail and offices across the street.

If there is a complaint it would be addressed, Gosse said.

"We're trying something new here to improve the lakefront," he said.

Trustee Paul Evert supported the move to try to address the problem without using taxpayer dollars.

The money was donated to the village from funds raised during the inaugural Lake Country Clean Water Festival, which was held in conjunction with the Kiwanis Beach Party. The event raised $5,000, which was donated to the Friends of the Parks of Pewaukee.

A Clean Water Committee was formed, consisting of representatives of the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski club, the Lake Pewaukee Sanitary District, the joint Park and Recreation Department and Gosse. After discussion and meeting with representatives from Migratory Bird Management, the committee embraced the idea of using the Eagle Eye system, according to a memo from Gosse to the board.

By this summer, village officials will know whether this idea is for the birds.

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Many thanks to the following sponsors who make this festival possible:
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