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Lake Beulah Protective & Improvement Association

Fish, Plants & Wildlife

Learn about the fish, plants and wildlife that make up the diverse ecosystem of the Lake Beulah area.

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Fish

Smallmouth Bass Update 2017

Courtesy of Luke S. Roffler, Senior Fisheries Biologist – Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Lake Beulah has been stocked with five inch smallmouth bass in Fall 2014, 2015 and 2016. The fish were offloaded from the Gollon hatchery truck onto the boat tanks and released in deep water at five locations. The three stockings were financed by the Triangle Sportsmen’s Club, the Lake Beulah Protective and Improvement Association (LBPIA), and individual donors, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) crews provided assistance.

Recent fish surveys do not indicate high numbers of smallmouth bass (SMB). The initial stocking is three years old  and probably averaging about 10” or less in length (see chart below). Most of the stocked fish are also less likely to be captured during our surveys, as mature fish (typically 3-4 years for SMB) are generally more susceptible to capture. The other limitation is the total number of stocked fish, which currently stands at 5,530. Assuming 30% survival to adulthood (which is probably generous), we’d have roughly 1,700 bass (2.0/acre) from these three stocking events. Again, this is the best case scenario from the last three stocking events; when these fish begin to show up in our surveys, it will be easier to get a better handle on abundance and growth.

Reproduction is the next question. As adult densities increase over the years, I think we can expect to see some low levels of natural reproduction. Not many of the lakes in this area are considered suitable for SMB success, but Beulah is. The combination of size, depth and good spawning substrate (gravel to cobble) should provide the stocked fish a chance to reproduce. We won’t know until we start seeing young bass that can’t be explained by the stocking records. This is obviously even farther into the future. Whether SMB reproduction can ever hit a level where stocking is unnecessary (e.g., Geneva or Delavan) is a whole other question.

The decision of whether to continue the stocking program is up to the various parties involved in paying for the fish. The more stocked year classes we have in the lake, the greater the odds of increased adult densities and possible reproduction. And since the state is currently footing the bill for large fingerling walleye, there’s really not much else the lake needs to bolster the fishery.

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Walleyes

Lake Beulah has been designated as a sentinel lake for the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative (WWI), giving it a higher priority for walleye stocking and monitoring. The WWI stocking program is an unprecedented investment in walleye stocking via state and private hatcheries. The program is expected to result in stocking of fall fingerling walleyes across the state, which should produce fishable and, in some lakes, sustainable walleye populations for years to come.

Cisco

On August 23, volunteers from Camp Charles Allis, the Lake Beulah Protective and Improvement Association, a Madison fish research team and a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) crew used specialized netting to find out if any Cisco fish still live in the lake. Lake Beulah, being a deeper lake, is one of only a few southeast Wisconsin lakes that could support a population of Cisco fish. While the DNR knows that Cisco lived in the lake in the past, the last two attempts to find them proved unsuccessful and it is now believed there is no longer a population of Cisco in Lake Beulah as the water has warmed to the point the fish cannot survive. The Cisco is a deep and cold-water loving fish that cannot tolerate warmer waters. It can grow to around 20” in length.

The crew set out two sets of nets, one in the deepest part of the upper lake and one on the other side of the channel in about 50 feet of water. The  nets are set vertically in deep water, with large floats at the surface. The size of the openings in the nets vary in order to trap different size fish. Nearly all the fish were dead upon being reeled up. After extricating them from the net, basic data was recorded. Netted species were crappie, large mouth bass, bluegill and one nice sized northern pike. Final survey results are pending.
Photos courtesy of Tom Bernhardt, Camp Charles Allis


Fishes of Wisconsin
by George C. Becker

 
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Wood Duck Nesting Boxes  

Many lake residents have noticed wood ducks along their shore and are interested in providing nesting boxes on their properties.
Here are some resources for more information on wood ducks and plans for boxes:

Ducks Unlimited
Wisconsin Public Service
National Wildlife Federation
EEK! Environment Education for Kids (WI DNR)
Milwaukee WI Journal Sentinel

 
Canadian Geese flying over Lake Beulah

Canadian Geese flying over Lake Beulah

Living with Wildlife: Canadian Geese
Management of Canada Goose Nesting

 

Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program
A citizen-based monitoring initiative that allows the public to assist in recording and preserving turtles in Wisconsin.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Smooth Softshell

Smooth Softshell

 

Planting a Native Plant Butterfly Garden or Monarch Way Station:
Providing food and shelter for monarchs and other pollinators also helps conserve native plants, reduce habitat fragmentation and increase biodiversity in the landscapes.

 

Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Wisconsin Invasive species are non-native plants, animals and pathogens whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause harm to the environment, economy or to human health. AIS can reduce or eliminate native species and recreational opportunities. AIS also can negatively impact real estate prices and the over-all economy.

Prevention

Do your part in preventing AIS from harming Lake Beulah!
Clean Boats, Clean Waters Program

Non-native Plants

(Click images for links to more information.)

Eurasian Watermilfoil

Eurasian Watermilfoil

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

Curly-leaf Pondweed

Curly-leaf Pondweed

Phragmites

Phragmites

Non-native Aquatic Species

(Click images for links to more information.)

Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussels

Faucet Snail - Found during a lake survey on Lower Phantom Lake (4/16/2013)

Faucet Snail - Found during a lake survey on Lower Phantom Lake (4/16/2013)

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

The Mussel Monitoring Program of Wisconsin would like your help in finding out what mussels occur in your area!

Plants & Trees

Oak wilt is a fungal disease that can harm and kill oak trees. It is prevalent in Wisconsin and is spread from diseased to healthy trees by insect vectors or via connections between tree roots. Read More about Managing Oak Wilt.

 

Water Testing

Links to the latest Lake Beulah water quality reports are listed below. The bottom line is that the lake quality is considered: GOOD.

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WATER QUALITY

One measure of a lakes health is the trophic state, which relates to the amount of algae in the water. The average summer trophic state for the last 5 years was 45 (Mesotrophic) and was determined using chlorophyll data. For a “Two-Story” lake, this is considered Good.

  • Mesotrophic - Mesotrophic lakes are characterized by moderately clear water but have an increasing chance of low dissolved oxygen in deep water during the summer.

Lake Beulah has been monitored by volunteers since 1991. Volunteers monitor water clarity with a black and white Secchi disk. Some also collect water samples, which are sent to the State Lab of Hygiene to be analyzed. Volunteers are the source of the majority of Wisconsin's lake water quality data, and their dedication is greatly appreciated. Additional monitoring has been done through projects funded in part by DNR Lake Grants and Aquatic Invasive Species Grants. Reports and graphs featuring data collected by volunteers, DNR staff and others can be viewed below.

WATER QUALITY REPORTS AND GRAPHS

WI DNR External Links

STATION NAME LINK (Date of Last Report)

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Secchi Testing

Every year, volunteers collect water samples using Secchi Disk readings from lakes in Wisconsin. This data is calibrated with a mathematical model and satellite imagery to achieve the most accurate readings of water quality on over 8000 lakes in the state.

The Wisconsin DNR uses data from both the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites; volunteers schedule their testings based on the day that the satellite passes overhead.

Check out this Wisconsin Citizen Lake Monitoring Training Manual (PDF pages 26-28) to see the 13 Steps that LBPIA Board Member Keith Beren takes to monitor the water clarity of Lake Beulah.

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Questions? Contact Keith Beren

Property & Piers

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Piers

Before you put in a pier…

  1. consult the WI DNR Pier Planner AND

  2. adhere to Town of East Troy Ordinances: REGULATION OF MOORINGS AND PIERS and

  3. consult Walworth County for applicable ordinances.

Partial Excerpt from the Town of East Troy Ordinances (emphasis added):

16.10.040 Permit.

A permit shall be required for each property having a pier, mooring, navigational or mooring buoy, marina, temporary rigging, or other structure or device that is placed wholly or in part in navigable waters. (2008 code § 12.02(4))

16.10.050 Regulations.

All permits for moorings, piers, wharfs and other structures shall be subject to the following regulations. For the purposes of this section all of the foregoing requiring a permit shall be referred to as a “mooring.” Elsewhere in this chapter, unless such structural devices are specifically named, “mooring” shall presumptively refer to all structures, devices or any other matter requiring a permit under this chapter.

1.    No mooring shall materially obstruct navigation.

2.    The establishment of a mooring shall not be detrimental to any significant fish or wildlife habitat area or sensitive environmental area. The Town shall consider any application dealing with such issue with the intent of minimizing or avoiding any detrimental impact. Pursuant to 2011 Wisconsin Act 167, a DNR permit is required for every new pier on “designated waters” or “areas of special resource interests” after August 2012 if the pier does not meet the Pier planner [PDF], and the Piers exemption checklist [PDF]. Portions of Lake Beulah are included within both definitions. As such, the Town Board will only grant a permit application for a new pier on waters fitting either or both definitions after approval has been granted by the DNR, or a letter from the DNR confirming that a pier is exempt is provided. A list of “designated waters” or “areas of special resource interest” can be found at http://dnrmaps.wi.gov/H5/?Viewer=SWDV (Surface Water Data Viewer).

From the Pier Planner:

Responsible Parties

“Friends, neighbors or a contractor may assist with installation and maintenance, but owners are responsible for following requirements, obtaining any necessary permits, and for maintenance after construction.”

Placement of Piers

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wetlands/locating.html Part 1 of 4 "Waking Up To Wetlands"

Impacting the environment:

Pier or wharf placement and use may not harm the public interests in waterways, which includes fish and wildlife habitat (such as spawning areas, important vegetation, waterfowl nesting areas); water quality; natural scenic beauty; or public recreation and navigation.”

What’s a wetland?

“Wetlands are not always obvious. Wisconsin has more than a dozen different types and some may be dry for most or all of the year. But all wetlands are protected by law and permits are required before you build on wetlands or otherwise affect them.” - WI DNR https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wetlands/locating.html

Have a wetland? Explore your options (source: WI DNR)

If wetlands are present on a property, there are options available to you:

  • Enjoy and explore your wetlands and avoid building on them or otherwise disturbing them. Learn about the important functions and values they provide.

  • Restore degraded wetlands or enhance them.

  • If wetlands can’t be avoided, read about the necessary permitting and environmental review process. State and federal (and sometimes local) permits are required for activities that will have an impact on wetlands.

 

Critical Habitat Areas

Click image for larger view.

Click image for larger view.

This map shows areas marked (orange or yellow markings on the lake) noted as “Areas of Special Natural Resources Interest (ASNRI)” - Critical Habitat Area - Sensitive Area Designation. While these are not the only areas of sensitive habitat, these are marked the most critical areas of Lake Beulah according to the WI DNR.

To access this interactive map from the WI DNR, go here https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/surfacewater/swdv/ - click “Launch” - zoom in to the lake - under “Basic Tools” click “Show Layers” - then click the checkbox for the “Priority Navigable Waterways” layer.

 

Obstructing navigation:

“A pier or wharf may not obstruct navigation. In narrow rivers or channels, construct a wharf parallel to the shoreline rather than extending a pier perpendicular to it.”

Boundaries:

“Piers, wharves and moored boats must be placed in the “exclusive riparian zone”, which is the space in the water adjacent to the riparian property where the riparian has the exclusive right to place structures.”

Number of watercraft

“The number of boat slips – the total of all watercraft docked at a pier or wharf including boats in a boat lift or hoist - is limited to 2 boats slips for the first 50 feet of the riparian owner’s shoreline frontage and no more than 1 boat slip for each additional full 50 feet of shoreline. In addition to the boat slip allowance listed here, a riparian owner can secure up to 2 personal watercraft for the first 50 feet of the riparian owner’s shoreline frontage and one additional personal watercraft for each additional full 50 feet of shoreline.”

 

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History

100 Years: A Capsule History of the Lake Beulah Protective And Improvement Association

by Raymond Olson, Jr. January 1994

On August 25, 1894, thirty-two lake Beulah residents gathered and adopted a Constitution and by-Laws to formally organize the Lake Beulah Protective and Improvement Association. The object of the new Association was the “general improvement and protection of Lake Beulah and the streams and waters adjacent thereto.”

The word “Improvement” characterizes the early work of the Association: strengthening of the Yonman-Johnson Dam in Mill Lake, having “the customary number of fish placed in the lake early in the spring,” and the “elimination of the dam under the bridge leading to Beulah Island and elevating the bridge so steamers can pass under the same.” In 1898, the Association approved the “necessary work on the channel between Upper and Lower Lakes.” By 1901, it is reported that the search for a game warden ended successfully with the appointment of Mr. Fred Carthedge as Game and Fish warden, and in 1904, Mr. Carthedge advised the Board that “he had stocked the lake with 25,000 wall eyed pike.” Safe boating became an issue, and a committee was appointed “to formulate naval regulations regarding lights and signals, and to send such regulations to owners of boats.” During this early formative and improvement era, names now familiar to Lake Beulah residents appear in Association records: Romadka, Wilmer, Gillette, Porter and Brown.

The Association began its “Protective” activity in 1907 when, at the membership meeting, “Dr. Pitts was requested to see Wesley Shephard and have the word Saloon effaced from a certain building.” Weeds had become a problem and in 1908 “Mr. Gillette reported that the experiment with chemicals was satisfactory under certain circumstances.”

The Dam issue was resolved by 1909 with the construction of the cement dam in Mill Lake, thereby ending what appears to have been an ongoing argument between the Association and the owners of a wooden dam, who apparently installed and then periodically removed the wood timbers so as to change the level of the lake.

In the next year, a weed cutter was purchased by the Association, to be rented to Association members at $1.00 per day, or to nonmembers for $2.00 per day. During the next several years, more improvement work included removing tree stumps from all channels around the lake, principally between Upper and Lower Lakes, and finally in 1920, the repairs to the bridge between Jesuit Island and the mainland were completed at the joint expense of the Island people, the Association, and the Boston Store.

With the Lake and its channels improved for navigation and annually stocked with fish, the Association seems to have “rested” from 1920 until 1936 and from 1939 to 1947, as there are no minutes of formal Board meetings during those periods.

After the Second World War, two events resulted in the reactivation of the Association: the advent of the “speed boat” in place of the old steam launches and the adoption in 1949 of a new zoning ordinance by the town of East Troy. The “Protective” phase of the Association’s activities began in earnest. The McGregor Subdivision Case evidenced the Association’s opposition to the practice of subdividing back lots with a small right-of-way to the lake and the old naval regulations were revised to become the “Code of Good Conduct” which was printed and distributed to all lake front property owners.

Over the next 45 years, the records of the Association reflect numerous instances of remarkable cooperation between the Association and the town board in protecting Lake Beulah as a single family residential community, with emphasis on the safe and reasonable use of our lake. Does anyone recall the first house boat which arrived on the lake on August 26, 1961? On August 29th the Association’s officers met officially with the town board, who promptly authorized their attorney to draw up an appropriate ordinance, which was duly adopted on September 11th and published three days later. The house boat was gone and the ordinance became the model for Burlington Township and many other Wisconsin lakes as well.

It is impossible in the space of this newsletter to recount all of the challenges residents have encountered over the 100 year history of our Association. It is, however, both interesting and useful to review a century’s worth of records, minutes of meetings, letters and the like; together they tell the story of individual and community investment in the affairs of our lake.

Just as the problems and issues which confront Lake Beulah property owners change over time, so also does the Association’s organization and method of operation. In the early years the nine person board functioned as a committee of the whole on all projects, with the president usually empowered to carry out the Board’s decisions. By the 1960’s, membership had grown to 170 and the Board organized itself into committees, each with special responsibilities. A comparison of the committees then and now perhaps best illustrates the shift in focus of the Board’s concerns:

1960’s:

Membership Public Relations Legislative Zoning

Building Code Lake Affairs

1990’s:

Membership

Education / Public Information Legislative Liaison

Safety and Security

Water Quality / Weed Control Fish and Wildlife

The Building and Zoning Wars over density and lake access are largely over, replaced by the Weed War against Eurasian Water Milfoil. Lake Affairs now means Safety and Security and the promotion of Fish and Wildlife. Restocking once again becomes an annual project. We are a member of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes, successor to the Federation of wisconsin Lake Property Owners Association which Lake Beulah was instrumental in founding almost 40 years ago. We continue to join with and learn from other lakes in anticipating, and hopefully, solving problems before they become unmanageable.

Reading the recorded history of the Association, one cannot help but feel an expanding sense of gratitude for the foresight and vigilance of prior generations of Lake Beulah residents who founded and nurtured the Association. they built for us a solid foundation of Improvement and Protection. Now that we have grown to over 250 members, our task is to carry on, so that we may preserve this lake, as our forbears have left it for us, as a wonderful place to enjoy.

Crooked Lake  - Mid 1800s - Now Lake Beulah.

Crooked Lake - Mid 1800s - Now Lake Beulah.

The History of Lake Beulah

READ MORE - Click image for a classic telling of the history of Lake Beulah.

READ MORE - Click image for a classic telling of the history of Lake Beulah.

Assorted Histories

1940 News Articles: name change from Crooked Lake to Lake Beulah

1963 Code of Conduct

1993 Lake Beulah–Pioneer Days to the Present

East Troy Area History

Hotel Beulah 1887-1911

Hotel Beulah, A history by Lake Beulah Yacht Club

Hotel Beulah Brochure from 1899

Historic Images - Click image to expand it.