Serving the interests of
Lac Courte Oreilles
and Little Lac Courte Oreilles,
Sawyer County, Wisconsin


COLA Annual Meeting

Get Complete Details Here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017
St. Francis Solanus Mission 13885 Mission Rd., Stone Lake, WI 54876

To help us provide seating & refreshments, please RSVP:


COLA Summer Picnic

Saturday, July 15, 2017, 12-3 PM
Trails End Resort, 8080 Co. Hwy K, Hayward, WI 54843
Food and beer/pop provided to current membership
Raffle tickets for five area restraunts



Creel Report . 2016-2017

See the Creel Report with remarks by Max Wolter, Max Wolter
Fisheries Biologist, Wisconsin DNR, Sawyer County Wisconsin DNR. See entire report

COLA Receives "Outstanding Partner Award" fromUW Stevens Point

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Geographic Information Systems Center (GIS Center) selected the Courte Oreilles Lakes Association (COLA) for its annual Outstanding Partner Award. The award recognizes COLA’s long-term commitment to gathering scientific and geographic evidence at the watershed scale and applying it to protect the two-story fishery on Lac Courte Oreilles.

New Study to Help Lakes and Farms Address Potential Erosion Issues

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Geographic Information Systems Center (GIS Center) has completed a study that contains the modeling and mapping necessary to help both farmers and lake associations in the Upper Courderay River Watershed identify farm parcels most vulnerable to erosion. See details, the study, and next steps.
Positive Outcome for Fleur de Lane Rezoning Request

The Courte Oreilles Lakes Association (COLA) has helped reach a positive outcome with the Sawyer County Board and Zoning Committee, regarding the Billings Family Trust request to rezone a property adjacent to Fleur de Lane. COLA worked with representatives from the Billings Family Trust, Fleur de Lane neighbors, the two lawyers involved, and Dale Olson—Zoning and Conservation Administrator—to find a solution to the rezone dilemma.


COLA Featured in UWSP Geo News for Award-Winning UW-Stevens Point Geodesign Project

Geodesign methods and GIS techniques to analyze the potential vulnerability of agricultural lands to erosion. The analysis summarizes indicators or soil erosion by individual tax parcels. The results provide conservationists with tools to identify landowners and future collaborators in the fight to limit erosion and keep nutrients on agricultural fields and out of LCO. Click Here to read this feature.


Pike Restoration Project on LCO

COLA is a partner in the Lake Courte Oreilles Esox Recovery Plan on Lac Courte Oreilles. The idea for this plan was introduced by the WDNR in 2016 and is now the joint effort of Muskies Inc, Walleyes Forever, COLA, the LCO Tribe, and the WDNR.


"Anglers asked to cull small pike from LCO"

Musky decline is the topic of this Article in the Sawyer County Record on February 2, 2017. At the Sawyer County Fisheries Forum on Jan. 25, DNR fishery manager Max Wolter said Lac Courte Oreilles was “once a world-class musky fishing destination.” The article goes on to say, "The musky size potential is still world-class, but the current numbers of muskies on the 5,139-acre lake are very low, probably less than 300 adults compared to the historical average of 1,000 adults." The reasons for decreasing musky include very low natural reproduction rates, very little stocking success, decline of suitable spawning habitat, and a documented 27 percent more phosphorus from agriculture and human development. Article also includes proposed ideas for addressing the problem as well as mention of COLA’s involvement.


New Land Use Policy by COLA

COLA’s newly updated Land Use Policy Statement is designed to protect Lac Courte Oreilles from rezoning. Allowing properties that are currently designated as agricultural and forestry to be rezoned as residential opens up development around the lake that would directly impact water quality in the form of additional run-off and the load of additional septic systems.


Year-End Update and Chance to Contribute

Click Here Much progress has been made! We do need to continue our aggressive actions, however, to preserve our property values as well as the legacy of our great lakes for our children. But, momentum is growing and COLA has never been closer to implementation. Here is what’s in place, what’s working, what is still left to do, and how you can help get us to those finish lines with a year-end contribution.

Report on Blue-Green Algae Bloom

Click Here for news about the November 2016 blue-green algae bloom in Stuckey Bay near the cranberry bog discharge canal. Learn about the results of the data collected, what to look for as a homeowner, and how to report anything new or unusual that you see.
* Click Here for the blue-green algae information, safety, and precautions guide.

Report on the 2016 Fishkill

Click HERE to access the final and complete report on the 2016 LCO fish kill prepared by COLA in association with the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians - October 6, 2016.

COLA has been working to resolve the problem of excess phosphorous in LCO and the affect it has had on the lake’s unique cold water fishery, increasing algae and aquatic plant growth and loss of musky and walleye spawning habitat.

One source of these excess nutrients are cranberry bogs which require millions of gallons of water throughout the year. The water is pumped into the bogs directly from lakes and other waters on which these operations are located. But, that deep water is not needed all the time, so each time a bog is flooded with lake water for a frost protection, pest control, or harvesting, the water level needs to be adjusted down again. The excess water is returned back to the lake, potentially containing phosphorus, nitrogen, and pesticides all used in the growing of cranberries. The impact is visible in the May, 2016 aerial photo of Stucky Bay. Click here to view.

The solution is a closed system where the water that is drained from the bogs is pumped to a constructed holding basin rather than back into the lake, thereby giving cranberry growers the ability to store and re-use the water they need to grow and harvest cranberries. Two forward thinking LCO growers have recently implemented closed systems. Click here to view. Two bogs down and two bogs to go. Progress is being made. To view the press release thanking these growers, click here to view.

The Golf Tournament scheduled for September 17th has been cancelled.

 The COLA Letter to EPA Supporting Midwest Environmental Advocates Petition for Corrective Action can be found under the 'Impaired Waters' tab. Click on 'Background' or click HERE to go directly.

The 2016 COLA Annual Meeting presentations can be viewed under the 'About Us' tab. Click on 'Meetings' or click HERE to go directly.

The May minutes have been posted under the 'Minutes' tab or click HERE to go directly.

From Kim Becken, UW Extension Lakes Partnership, Stevens Point, WI  54481

Introduction to shoreland zoning and recent changes to required shoreland lot sizes.

From Kim Becken, UW Extension Lakes Partnership, Stevens Point, WI  54481

Changes to shoreland setbacks, vegetation protection and impervious surface standards.

Why Shoreline Restoration is a Big Deal.

The phosphorus criteria currently applied by the Wisconsin DNR to Lac Courte Oreilles and Musky Bay are not sufficient to restore and protect the aquatic life and recreational uses. The proposed total phosphorus Site Specific Criteria for Lac Courte Orielles, to be applied as a lake-wide average in its entirety including Musky Bay, is 10 μg/L. This is more protective than the existing water quality criterion of 15 μg/L applied to Lac Courte Oreilles and the 40 μg/L criterion applied separately to Musky Bay by the Wisconsin DNR. Click on the 'Site Specific Criteriion for LCO' tab for more information.

The April minutes have been posted under the 'Minutes' tab

COLA issues Press Release: 'Assembly Bill 600'. Click HERE to view.

COLA issues Press Release: 'Lake Association Foots $200,000 Bill for DNR Study'. Click HERE to view.

From The Guardian: A cranberry politics primer by a Washington, DC based tribal rights attorney. Click HERE to view.

COLA issues Press Release on Shoreland Restoration Grant. Click HERE to view.

COLA Issues Press Release on Saving Lac Courte Oreilles Monster Musky and Walleye Fishing. Click HERE to view.

COLA Comments on the Northwoods Beach Public Reserve Strip Draft Ordinance. Click HERE for redirect to Town of Bass Lake web site.

COLA Issues Press Release Supporting the Resolution to Protect the County’s Right to Govern its Own Lakes.  Click HERE for details.

The July minutes are posted under the "Minutes" tab.
The 2015 COLA picnic photos are available under the "Photos" button, top left. Be patient; the photos take awhile to load.
The first six issues of Short Ears, Long Tales are available under the "About Us" tab.

The Battle For Clean Water Continues

Under Revision. Check back later.

Annual Meeting Summary

Update on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Response to COLA TMDL and SSC Documents
After three years of study and a year of waiting on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for review and comment, COLA is releasing the draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study report that has been prepared to address the “impairment” of Musky Bay and the continuing decline in water quality of the LCO lakes.   COLA has also been informed by the WDNR that it will take them “two or more years” to consider advancing COLA’s proposed “Site Specific” phosphorus criteria for LCO that is intended to set the bar for preservation of the LCO lakes for many generations to come.

Learn more

Lac Courte Oreilles Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study Report

View PDF

COLA objects to the Wisconsin Legislature, Joint Committee on Finance action to gut County shoreland regulatory authority
Without any public notice or input, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has included a provision in the Wisconsin state budget bill that would prohibit every county across Wisconsin from enacting shoreland zoning ordinances stronger than the state minimums. Currently every county is protecting, preserving, and in many cases improving its lakes—i.e. trying to keep pace with growth and development—in ways that are backed by proven conservation principles. This provision threatens to remove longstanding safeguards from one of Wisconsin's finest resources—our lakes. Click the link below to view the letter; COLA’s request to the WI Joint Finance Committee to drop the offending provision.

View PDF

Check out the educational buffer zone video on Shue's Pond.

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Wild & Scenic Film Festival on tour
From our friends at the Couderay Waters Regional Land Trust: Wild & Scenic Film Festival on tour. The Park Center, Hayward, WI, Saturday, April 11, 2015, Doors open at 6 PM – Films begin at 7 PM

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Two Conservation Easements on Lac Courte Oreilles
Couderay Waters Regional Land Trust announces two Conservation Easements on Lac Courte Oreilles

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Connected Waters: A History of the Battle for Clean Water

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