Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and Clean Boats Clean Waters (CBCW) are two programs run by the Pelican Lake Association.
With these programs, invasive species that enter our waters are identified and removed. Currently, Eurasian Water Milfoil (an invasive plant), Chinese Mystery Snails, and Rusty Crayfish are our main invasive newcomers.
Eurasian Water Milfoil hand harvesting in 2020
Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM) is a plant that expands rapidly and is hard to completely remove. Each spring the Pelican Lake Association hires a plant-survey crew to survey the lake, looking for outbreaks of EWM. When the outbreaks are large enough to warrant, the PLA hires a crew from Aquatic Plant Management to hand-pull these invaders. From 2015-2020 no hand-pulling was needed; in 2020 hand-pulling was employed to try to keep the EWM at bay.
Chinese Mystery Snailsin Pelican Lake feed on the algae in our lake. Reducing algae levels reduces the food available for these snails. The best way to reduce algae levels is to minimize the phosphorus that comes from the rain runoff and spring-thaw runoff that go into the lake.
Chinese Mystery Snails: Large snails seen floating on the water’s surface in summer.
The Rusty Crayfish population seems to have stabilized due to trapping, the increased size-limit for keeping bass (thus, allowing more bass to roam our waters and eat more and larger Rusty Crayfish), and fishing by animals such as mink who eat the crayfish.
Rusty Crayfish: Notice the brown spot on the dorsal (upper back) side of the carapace (hard shell).
Curly Pondweed: A water weed that looks a bit like a lasagna noodle.
Spiny Water Flea: We currently do not have these, but we’re watching for them because they're found in some nearby lakes.
Zebra Mussels: We currently do not have these, but they, too, are in nearby lakes and can do extensive damage.
Clean Boats Clean Waters (CBCW) is a program, developed by the WI DNR, that pays landing monitors to check boats and boat trailers as the boats enter and leave a lake. The monitors are looking for any signs of “aquatic hitchhikers” (like EWM) coming in on boats and boat trailers.
The Pelican Lake Association oversees this program and hires monitors to check the boats and trailers. This is done at the three hard-surface landings during the times of heaviest use: Friday afternoons, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. A grant from the State pays for this program, along with a grant from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community of Mole Lake, and donations from the Suick family of Pelican Lake. This makes the CBCW program on Pelican Lake a program that is not funded by any Association funds. Costwise, it is infinitely cheaper to prevent the introduction of an invasive species, rather than try to remove the infestation.
The Pelican Lake Association has also placed an I-LIDS (Internet Landing Installed Device Sensor) unit at the State Landing on County Road G. The Townships of Schoepke and Enterprise, along with the Pelican Lake Association, cover the annual maintenance and monitoring costs. This is a mechanical unit that plays an audio message to each boat owner using the landing, and takes a video recording to check the boat and trailer for clinging weeds, the most likely means of introducing new invasive creatures. These video clips are viewed later for compliance. The use of the I-LIDS unit is an attempt by the Association to have the State Landing monitored 24/7 during the boating season. Human monitors are still used on the weekends at that landing because nothing can compare to human interaction with the boaters.
Education is the overriding purpose for using monitors and the I-LIDS unit. Our goal is to help lake users understand the importance of prevention as a means of maintaining the quality of water in Pelican Lake.