A partnership between Vilas County and UW-Oshkosh for a pilot program to decontaminate watercraft using four lakes, two of which are infested with invasive spiny water fleas, was approved by the county board Tuesday.(2/27)
Currently spiny water fleas are found in Stormy, Star, Trout, and Ike Walton lakes in Vilas County. It is thought they were introduced via watercraft from live wells and motor bilges. Vilas County and the university will apply for a DNR grant to purchase a mobile diesel powered hot water decontamination unit to be used on four lakes starting in June. Two lakes targeted are Star and Trout and two others are Big Muskellunge and Plum that are thought not to be infested.
The Vilas grant request is $9,456 and the university match will be $5,006. The university will train two students and one county staff to operate the unit. All decontamination will be voluntary and be applied to all willing watercraft both prior to launch and after lake exit. Specialized nozzels will be used for motor bilges.
Donations to this pilot decontamination project can be made to UW-Oshkosh or the Vilas County Land and Water department.