Fighting the good fight for our lakes doesn’t come cheap. This letter is an update and a request for additional contributions from our lake association partners and individual members. WSI has been there behind the scenes every day of this legislative session, fighting to deflect the worst of the bills that would condemn our lakes to certain decline – such as allowing ATVs unlimited access to lake shallows!
Plum Lake Association is contributing an additional $2,000, and I am personally contributing $500. I would ask all of lake association partners and individual members to consider contributions. For our association partners, a financial update is attached. As you will see, virtually all of our funds have gone to legal and lobbying expenses.
We are nearing the end of the legislative session and the scramble to introduce bills is intense in Madison. There are at least 5 bills that affect the lakes and have required committee testimony, responses and legislative contact by WSI. We are actively engaged in discussions inside the Capitol aimed at preventing further damage. If we have learned one thing, it is that we must remain vigilant until the legislature adjourns this spring.
The bills introduced by Rep. Adam Jarchow are a direct attack on our lakes and shorelines and are aimed at continuing to reduce local control. It has become clear that the effort to take over the governance of our lakeshore with one size fits all regulations that seriously erode our ability to protect our lakes will not end this session. With the current political atmosphere in Madison, we expect to see more adverse legislation promoted in the future.
It is a new day for all of us. Last summer, our concerns on Plum Lake revolved around our local issues. I am sure that is what you were all engaged in as well. That changed last August. With your support, our research found some solutions that our local governments could rely on to keep some control, including the shelter provided by sec. 236 and a six-month moratorium on implementing shoreland provisions slipped into the state budget (Act 55). Unfortunately, some of the current legislation has been aimed at eliminating those solutions.
Today, the threat to our lakes has never been greater. It requires a new strategy and a commitment from all of our lake groups. WSI is putting an umbrella partnership in place that is big enough and influential enough to stand up to this threat, recover our lost local control, and defend against new, harmful legislation. A dialogue is underway with two other statewide groups dedicated to protecting lakes, and more are being engaged.
All this is possible because we have the best eyes and ears in the Capitol building and the best legal advice in the state on riparian issues. WSI must have your financial support to be able to keep up with the forces that are intent on destroying local control and the lake protections we have built over generations. New contributions are crucial to get WSI through the balance of this legislative session.
This summer WSI will focus on communication and educational efforts to expand public knowledge of the problems and solutions facing our lakes, including significant media outreach. It is our intent to have a new bill ready for the beginning of the next legislative session to return local control to local government and reinstate our lake classification work.
At the end of the legislative session in March, we will focus on adding lake associations in other parts of Wisconsin such as Lake Geneva, which has joined WSI and awarded us a grant. We are actively recruiting other major lake partners to join us and become involved.
We are deeply grateful for your commitment to our lakes and to WSI. The future of our lakes, our homes and our communities depends on our continued partnership and success.
WISCONSIN SHORELAND INITIATIVE
A. John Richter
P.S. Your support is urgently needed! Please send your contributions to:
Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative, P.O box 193, Sayner, WI 54560
Wisconsin Shoreland Initiative