A number of people living and vacationing on lakes and flowages in Marinette County have formed organizations for their particular body of water. The goals of these groups may somewhat differ, but they all were formed with the idea to work together to preserve or improve their natural and social waterfront communities.
What is a lake or river association?
Usually lake associations are voluntary organizations with members who own land on or near a lake or flowage. People on rivers and streams form similar associations as well. Associations can be involved in various levels of lake management activities and vary from well-run lake management groups to loose-knit social groups. However, the purpose of most is to maintain, protect, and improve the quality of a water body, its fisheries, and its watershed.
Why have a lake or river organization?
- To develop a partnership with your neighbors
- To gain awareness of your neighbor’s lake/river interests
- To develop a communication network for sharing lake/river news
- To raise awareness of lake/river issues in the community
- To launch fund raising events and apply for grants
- To evolve a wise long-range lake management plant
- To act as a support group for members
- To focus the wide range of skills and know-how a group of people posses
- To gain strength in numbers. The group’s opinions and needs can be represented to local government officials or agencies.
- To gather information and present educational programs to your membership and those living near the lake/river
- To conduct data collection on a broad range of lake/river concerns – water quality, development, use conflicts
- To gain historical perspectives from long-time residents
Things lake associations can do . . .
* Needs a permit from the DNR
- Improve fish habitat *
- Install and operate an aerator *
- Stock fish *
- Operate dams
- Maintain lake access
- Contract for aquatic plant removal
- Buy and operate an aquatic plant harvester *
- Purchase sensitive areas such as wetlands around lake/river
How are these associations formed?
It only takes one concerned citizen to get the ball rolling.
Where to start?
- An informal gathering of neighbors is often the first step.
- List reasons for forming a lake association.
- Contact us at the Land Information Departmentabout forming a lake association. We can answer questions and help you get on track. Also check out the
Wisconsin Association of Lakes (WAL) website.
- Ask other local lake associations for advice or support.
- Hold a public meeting. Invite everyone - individuals, groups, or business owners - who might have an interest in your lake.
- Publicize the first meeting to the entire lake community. Check the records at the county property listing office to find out names and addresses of shoreland property owners.
- Choose a leader and recording secretary for the meeting. Discuss the lake in general and then focus on specific issues common to all participants.
- Invite participation on a 4 or 5 person starting committee to establish the lake association.
- Decide what kind of lake organization you would like to have: an informal association, a qualified association, or a lake district.
At the first official association meeting…
- Nominate and elect officers.
- Select a name for the association.
- Agree on the general approach and purpose of the association, and collect first dues.
- Agree on a general plan of action for the association, including any regular business and social meetings, fund-raising events, etc.
- Develop a plan to recruit more members.
- Adopt bylaws, which establish the formal structure and procedures of the association. Included should be the stated purpose of the association, the date of the annual meeting, the officers and directors, election procedures, the formal committee structure, etc. Model by-laws can be obtained from WAL or by asking other local lake associations.
- Consider incorporating as a Wisconsin non-profit, non-stock corporation under Chapter 181, Wis. Stats. The incorporation form, which includes instructions and the fees required, can be obtained from the Corporations Division, Office of the Secretary of State, PO Box 7846, Madison, WI 53707 (608/266-3590).
Consider applying to the IRS for tax-exempt status.
||Chuck Druckrey - Water Resource Specialist
Phone: (715) 732-7528
Fax: (715) 732-7547
Click here to email
||1926 Hall Avenue
Marinette WI 54143-1717
||8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.