FOLW and partners have proposed shoreline habitat restoration practices that will lead to improvement of water quality in Lake Wingra. Proposed practices are the result of comprehensive and inclusive planning among numerous partners (including the public), and are aimed at the restoration of native species and natural habitats, the control of exotic and/or invasive species (purple loosestrife, buckthorn, carp, Eurasian milfoil, and giant Canada geese) that threaten native species and habitats, and the reduction of the impacts of stormwater runoff on lake water quality. Specific objectives are to control purple loosestrife and buckthorn, create a shoreline natural vegetation buffer, and conduct an aquatic plant restoration pilot study.
Purple Loosestrife and Buckthorn Control
This part of the project will protect native wetland species and habitats, including the sensitive South Shore fen (type of wetland) and West Wingra marsh and fen in the UW-Arboretum by controlling invasive purple loosestrife and buckthorn. The purple loosestrife population in the Edgewood marsh will be greatly reduced and contained to a limited area away from the lake itself. In the West Wingra marsh and fen, objectives are to maintain and/or develop high quality open wetland communities suitable for the gradient of moisture conditions present on the site.
Natural Vegetation Buffer
The proposal is for a 6-to-8 foot wide buffer of native prairie vegetation to be planted along 500 feet of shoreline along the lagoon in Vilas Park. The purposes of the buffer are to discourage nuisance geese from gathering along the lagoon shoreline, reduce impacts of stormwater run-off on lake habitat and water quality, encourage growth of native aquatic plants by improving habitat for native weevils (type of beetle) that serve as biological control for exotic Eurasian milfoil, and improve the aesthetics and habitat diversity of the park and shoreline.
Aquatic Plant Restoration Pilot
The objective of the Aquatic Plant Restoration pilot is to demonstrate the water quality, aquatic macrophyte and fish community responses to carp removal in Lake Wingra. The results will allow lake managers/researchers and the general public the opportunity to evaluate whether such a whole-lake restoration project would be both feasible and desirable. The proposed exclosure would have an area of approximately 1.0 hectare (2.5 acres) and would be left in the lake for an additional 2-3 years after installation. Carp would be removed from the exclosed area, and the resulting responses in water quality and aquatic plants would be monitored. The exclosure allows a risk-free demonstration to determine the various aspects (both positive and negative) of a possible future lake restoration project involving carp reduction.