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Lake Onalaska could get $10,000 from county to clear aquatic vegetation, improving access

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La Crosse County is considering granting $10,000 to help remove vegetation and create access channels on Lake Onalaska.

The Executive Committee approved the funding Wednesday morning, which would match funds already raised by advocates and help pay to clear sediment and aquatic vegetation that have bogged up channels and different areas of the lake.

According to the resolution, increased flowage from the Mississippi River and Lake Onalaska has increased the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the water.

This has caused an increase of filamentous algae, duck weed and other rooted aquatic vegetation, such as wild rice.

“Although vegetation is a source of food for wildlife, it also greatly impedes boat travel and traps more sediment, reducing overall water depth,” the resolution states.

“What we’ve been trying to do is provide access to the deeper water areas of the lake and the main channel boat landings and shore areas, and it’s been a real struggle,” said Fritz Funk, a member of the Lake Onalaska Protection and Rehabilitation District.

The county’s funds would match those already raised by the group privately. Funk said they have a target of raising $20,000 on their own.

Vicki Burke

Burke

“The increased use of the lake makes access to it very important, and that’s what this $10,000 will guarantee — access for boaters, recreational use of the lake,” said former supervisor Vicki Burke. She serves on the lake district’s commission and lives along the lake.

These funds would come from a fund already earmarked for lake projects in this year’s budget.

The Executive Committee approved the funding unanimously and the full board will vote on it next week.

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