Via Green Bay Press Gazette:
The signs atop the boat landing on Long Lake east of Plainfield make even the most optimistic visitor smirk with irony.
“Long Lake. No Wake.”
“Advise Catch and Release.”
The landing is a forsaken remnant of Long Lake’s past. No one launches boats anymore on what’s now a marsh in northwestern Waushara County. The signs should read: “Long Puddle. Walk Slowly. Bring Your Own Fish.”
Even with roughly six inches of rain the past month, Long Lake is barely navigable. And it no longer sustains a fishery. Granted, this “seepage” lake needed aeration each winter to provide oxygen for fish during its heyday. But the aerators are gone, too. The lake hasn’t been worth fishing since about 2007, when anglers last enjoyed what was a designated trophy lake for largemouth bass.
And even if Long Lake’s shallow waters held fish today, they’d be hard to reach. Piers of lakefront homeowners sit high and dry, their ends so far ashore you couldn’t cast far enough to reach water.
Scientists who study aquifers, groundwater and hydrological matters aren’t surprised at Long Lake’s decline, nor similar marshlands directly west called Plainfield Lake. Nor are they surprised by the ever-growing grassy shorelands on Huron Lake a couple of miles east of Long Lake.
The poor conditions of these lakes, much like Little Plover River to the north, are what the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey predicted in 1970 when assessing the impacts of high-capacity wells in this region called the “Central Sands.” This is what happens when you let agricultural businesses pump about 100 billion gallons of groundwater annually with little regard for nature or neighbors.
And this is what will happen with increasing regularity to lakes and streams across Wisconsin if our courts and lawmakers don’t restore the state’s constitutional safeguards for our public waters. The Department of Natural Resources abandoned those duties June 10 by waving its hall pass from Attorney General Brad Schimel.