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          We are looking for volunteers who would be interested in assisting with the following activities.  Please call the Lake District at (608) 423-4537 or e-mail us at ripley@oaklandtown.com for further details.  

Litter Cleanups 

          Volunteers are needed to help pick up 
litter and other debris that collects along the 
shorelines of Lake Ripley and Koshkonong 
Creek, as well as area parks and roadsides.    

Water Quality Monitoring

          Water quality tests are conducted on a year-round basis at the inlet, over the deepest point of the lake, and at the outlet.  Testing parameters may include water clarity, dissolved oxygen, inflow/outflow rates, macroinvertebrates, water temperature profiles, pH, alkalinity, phosphorus concentration, etc.  Self-directed volunteers with access to a boat are needed to help perform the sampling.  The Lake District would provide the training and furnish all necessary sampling gear.  

Lake District Preserve

          The Lake District Preserve is a public nature 
conservancy accessible from County Rd. A just north 
of Ripley Rd.  It contains 167 acres of restored 
wetland, prairie and woodland habitat.  This prior 
agricultural land was acquired by the Lake Ripley 
Management District in 1997.  Volunteers are needed 
to help monitor wildlife and plant communities, 
perform controlled burns, harvest prairie seed, clean 
and inspect birdhouses, assemble educational 
materials for trail kiosks, and remove invasive plant 

Citizen "Lake Watch"

         Lake Watch volunteers are needed to help monitor and document lake usage throughout the summer boating season.  Participants must have access to a boat, and are asked to dedicate a few hours each month observing and reporting on boating activities.  Incident reports detailing suspected rule violations are forwarded to local authorities for possible enforcement action.  Modeled after the widely successful Neighborhood Watch, this program aims to improve water safety, safeguard lake quality, and facilitate emergency response in the event of an accident or unsafe boating behavior.

Clean Boats, Clean Waters

          "Clean Boats, Clean Waters" is a boat launch 
monitoring and educational outreach program.  We are looking  
for volunteers to (1) help inspect boats and trailers for aquatic 
invasive species like zebra mussels, (2) distribute informational 
brochures, and (3) collect and report suspect specimens.  
Volunteers would be trained on invasive species identification 
for the purpose of inspecting boating equipment at the public
boat landing.    

Shoreline Restorations and Rain Garden Plantings

          The Lake District routinely assists 
landowners around the lake in restoring their 
shorelines or planting rain gardens.  We are 
often looking for volunteers who are not 
afraid to get their hands dirty or engage in 
physical labor.  Work typically involves 
planting native plant plugs, weeding, 
spreading mulch, watering, installing
erosion control, etc.  

Public Opinion Surveys

          Various cross-sections of the public are occassionally surveyed through interviews or questionnaires to gather information.  Previous surveys have focused on Lake District and watershed residents, lakefront property owners, anglers, and the local boating community.  The Lake District uses public feedback to develop and improve upon existing management programs.  Volunteers with good interpersonal communication skills are needed to assist with such efforts.

Education and Outreach

          The Lake District makes it a priority to communicate with its membership.  Newsletters, local newspaper articles, "Welcome Wagon" mailers, E-bulletins, Website and Facebook updates, and various other methods are used to keep the public informed of major policy decisions and resource management concerns.  We are looking for volunteers who have good writing skills to contribute articles and assist with the development of educational materials. 

Rules & Regulations
Financial Contributions
          The Lake District gratefully accepts donations to support our ongoing lake-improvement efforts.  Donations are recognized as tax-deductible charitable contributions by the Internal Revenue Service.  To make a donation to our general fund, please send your check made payable to the Lake Ripley Management District at N4450 County Rd. A, Cambridge, WI  53523.  You can also donate to a specific program, such as Ripley Rewards, by writing the program name on the memo line of your check.  Your financial support is greatly appreciated!
Make Your Property "Lake Friendly"

          The Lake Ripley Management District strongly encourages lakefront property owners to adopt sound landscaping practices along their shorelines.  Too often, people are unaware of how the cumulative impacts of their actions can degrade the larger ecosystem. Clear-cutting native vegetation to establish large expanses of turf grass or sand beaches right up to the water's edge is one such example. 

          The "suburbanization" of lakes can create a host of problems.  Sea walls, boat ramps, sand beaches, and manicured lawns to the water's edge have all been shown to be detrimental to water quality and fish/wildlife habitat.  For example, the typical lawn is a non-native monoculture offering little habitat value or protection against shoreline erosion (due to the shallow root structure of lawn grasses).  A lawn also requires a lot of maintenance in the form of pesticide and fertilizer applications, regular mowing, and the need to water during dry weather conditions.  During large rain storms, the short and flexible grass blades over compacted soils do little to prevent stormwater runoff from flushing pollutants into the lake.  Once in the lake, fertilizers and other pollutants harm aquatic life and can contribute to excessive weed and algae growth.  Finally, a mowed lawn up to the water's edge is inviting to congregating geese.  Large groups of waterfowl can damage property, pollute the lake, and have been linked to outbreaks of Swimmers Itch.

          To combat these problems, lakefront 
property owners are advised to maintain or 
establish a native "buffer strip" between the 
lake and a lawn.  Buffer strips should be as 
wide as possible, and planted with deep-
rooting sedges, grasses, forbs, shrubs and 
trees that are native to the area.  Paths can 
then be added to access piers and boat hoists.  
These types of shoreline-restoration efforts are 
often eligible for up to 50% cost sharing.  They 
are usually found to be quite affordable for most 
landowners, and can greatly improve the natural 
scenic beauty of the shore.    

20 Things Everyone Can Do...

          1.  Plant a native tree, shrub or perennial garden on your property
          2.  Minimize soil disturbances and the clearcutting of vegetation to prevent erosion 
          3.  If you must fertilize, use phosphorus-free products away from the lake
          4.  Direct roof downspouts to a rain garden where water can infiltrate into the soil
          5.  Burn leaves where ashes can't wash into the lake
          6.  Be aware of the issues that affect the lake
          7.  Recognize that every action has a positive or negative consequence 
          8.  Learn to share the lake by respecting other users
          9.  Comply with all local rules and regulations
         10.  Practice "catch-and-release" when fishing for large, spawning-size gamefish
         11.  Attend a Lake District meeting and support ongoing management efforts
         12.  Pick up litter when you see it
         13.  Keep soil, leaves, grass clippings, pet waste and chemicals out of the lake
         14.  Report illegal activities to law-enforcement authorities
         15.  Use conservation farming practices 
         16.  Slow down when boating in shallow-water areas
         17.  Help stop the introduction and spread of non-native species
         18.  Conserve water during your normal daily activities
         19.  Encourage local government officials to adopt sound land-use policies
         20.  Teach others to respect the land and our precious water resources
Other Ways to Help
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