Clean Boats Clean Waters


Through a DNR grant for 2020, paid and volunteer CBCW boat inspectors will be at the public boat landings throughout the summer every weekend and holiday from 8 AM to 5 PM.  Inspectors will be talking to boaters, conducting AIS boat inspections for aquatic invasive species (plants), and informing boaters about the use of the decontamination station.  Zebra mussels, an invasive species, are present in both Big and Middle McKenzie.  It is an enforceable county law in both Burnett and Washburn Counties that where there is a decon station present, all boaters must spray their watercraft before entering and after leaving a body of water.

Here are the most recent CDC and state guidelines for Covid-19:


Good morning CBCW grantees,


Watercraft inspection guidelines that follow the Governor’s Badger Bounce Back Plan and the U.S. CDC Guidelines for Opening Up America Again are now available on the CBCW COVID-19 Updates webpage, as well as a two-page handout (attached). The CBCW program recommends a phased approach to conducting watercraft inspections and CBCW trainings this summer. While these guidelines provide ways to conduct watercraft inspections and follow recommended safety precautions, please remember that watercraft inspection is a voluntary activity. The health and safety of inspectors come first.


Thanks to all of you who responded to the face mask survey! We will be offering two free, 4-ply, reusable cloth face masks to all inspectors. Our shipment of masks is expected to arrive in June, and I will let everyone know when they’re available to order.


Thank you for your patience with the development of these guidelines! Please let me know if you have any questions about them or the CBCW program. Questions about CBCW grants should be directed to Alex Delvoye with the Wisconsin DNR.


Enjoy the sunshine today!




Erin McFarlane

Statewide CBCW Educator

Extension Lakes

phone: 715-346-4978



University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

College of Natural Resources, Rm 212

800 Reserve Street

Stevens Point, WI  54481


MLA Mission Statement

McKenzie Lakes Association



To provide a united voice for the future of the McKenzie Lakes


To maintain, protect and enhance the quality of the McKenzie Lakes and their surroundings for the collective interests of the members and the good of the general public.

History of MLA

Started in 1990, MLA presently has over 300 dues paying members.  The MLA encompasses members from all three of the McKenzie Lakes (Big, Middle and Lower).  Some of the major accomplishments of the Association has been to commission a USGS water quality baseline study of the lakes, developed and funded an Aquatic Plant Management Plan for all three lakes, monitor water quality of the lakes on a monthly bases, work to control  Purple Loosestrife, an invasive plant species on Big and Middle McKenzie Lakes, provide roadside clean-up in the spring and promote Shoreline Restoration programs.

The Association has monthly meetings from Memorial Day to Labor Day with the annual election of officers and board members at the July meeting.  Meetings are held at the McKenzie Landing, County Road E, Big McKenzie on Saturdays starting at 9:00 am.

Zebra Mussels Update -2019

Zebra Mussel Update:

In the fall of 2016, a suspected Zebra Mussel (ZM) was found on a removed dock and verified by the Wisconsin DNR.  McKenzie Lakes Association applied for and received a DNA Rapid Response Grant to assess, monitor for ZM, and to educate the public about the presence of the ZM.  The grant runs for three years and we are in its final year.  The MLA was invited to be part of the ZM Management Team made up of state, federal and county representatives.  The ZM Management Team objectives were to provide guidance and resource management to the local area to help contain and prevent the spread of ZM.

During these last two years MLA was instrumental in passing an amended transport law in Burnett and Washburn counties, where watercraft must be decontaminated before entering or leaving a lake or river.  Our Association also designed and set-up decontamination stations at each of the public boat landings on the three McKenzie Landings.  Volunteers maintain these stations throughout the year, making sure that fresh bleach is always available in the sprayers.

Under the RRG, the MLA set up a monitoring procedure using sample plates to monitor the population of ZM over time.  Volunteers placed 40 sampler plates throughout the three lakes and at the end of the season counted the number of ZM on each plate.  These counts where used to provide a density measurement for each of the lakes.  Big McKenzie (BM) showed a density measurement in 2017 of 10/sq. ft. and in 2018 a density of 55.5/sq. ft.  In Middle McKenzie (MM) during 2017, ZM were found at two different monitoring sites.  Based on this finding MM was designated by the DNR that MM had an established population of ZM.  In 2018, the density was still very low 0.22/sq. ft.  In Lower McKenzie (LM) monitors have yet to find a ZM on any of their monitoring plates.

During 2019, MLA will continue to monitor for ZM using plate samplers, maintaining the decontamination stations and doing watercraft inspections at the public boat landings on BM and MM.  Additionally we will be working with the DNR to do veliger tows, underwater substrate surveys, and this year have added, eDNA.  eDNA analysis is a monitoring method to determine if the DNA of ZM can be detected in the environment (the water).  The Wisconsin Department of Health has set-up the test to be performed in their laboratory.  Besides the three McKenzie Lakes, lakes in our area designated as highly susceptible to ZM populations will also participate in the testing protocol.

In 2018, ZM adults were collected from BM and sent to the Minnesota AIS Institute at the U of M to determine the possible origin of the ZM.  Testing was completed early in 2019 and the Big McKenzie ZM population more closely aligns with populations found in Wisconsin’s lakes.

As we complete the last year of the RRG, it will be important to continue the programs we have started.  Monitoring using plate samplers should continue to determine the status of ZM population.  Will it continue or will it stabilize or decline over time?  Also, decontaminations stations need to be maintained and used, not only to prevent the spread of ZM from the McKenzie Lakes chain but also to prevent the introduction of other invasive species that could be just as detrimental as ZM or even worse.

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