What We Do

What We Have Done

In the four years since the 14 Mile Committee was established in the fall of 2016 we have been focused upon understanding and beginning to resolve our own lake-based contributions to the water quality issues within our lakes. With that purpose in mind we have pursued a variety of local initiatives.

  • We instituted water testing programs that would provide scientifically credible data about nutrient loads in our lakes as well as further upstream.
  • We worked with town officials and local professional fertilizer applicators to adopt more stringent guidelines for our fertilizer ordinance for lakefront properties.
  • We recognized our supportive neighbors with a “Clean Water Cooperator” sign to be displayed proudly by those who support and abide by the fertilizer guidelines.
  • Our committee became involved in the DNR’s Healthy Lakes grant program to fund shoreline improvements that reduce nutrient runoff and soil erosion as well as improve habitat for fish. To date over 50 such projects have been completed or approved.
  • We performed soil tests all around our lakes area to identify the level of legacy phosphorous that exists in our shoreline properties.
  • We expanded the Wisconsin Citizen Lake Monitoring Network water testing program beyond just phosphorous and chlorophyll to include nitrogen measurement as well.
  • We tested for flow and nutrients upstream in the watershed in various locations these past four years following a structured process utilizing sophisticated equipment and certified lab testing to provide scientific data that helps us know the impact of the upstream ditch network and the groundwater that flows into it.
  • We brought the “clean water” message to our area residents by conducting public “State of the Lakes” presentations and have built a portable display to take our message to public gatherings such as farmers’ markets, craft shows and other local venues.
  • We frequently invite water-related experts to present their expertise and experiences at our committee meetings which are open to the public.
  • We created several videos describing our lakes environment and educating residents about what they can do to help improve our lake water quality.
  • We authored or co-authored grant requests in the amount of over $250,000 that were recently approved for funding by the DNR. These grants will fund our water testing programs for the next 30 months, fund multiple shoreline improvement projects and contribute funds to help pay county personnel costs for implementing the Nine Key Element Plan.
  • We created a website and Facebook page that will help us spread our message and keep the public informed of our activities and progress.

What’s Ahead?

Approval of the 10-year, $8 million Nine Key Element Plan became the driving force behind the committee’s expanded mission statement and goals, and the driver for us to recently reorganize as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and make our group more open and welcoming to all stakeholders from Plainfield on down to Lake Petenwell. Much of our efforts going forward will be focused on supporting the goals of this Nine Key Element Plan.

We have now begun to connect with other organizations supporting improvement in the quantity and quality of ground and surface water in our watershed, such as the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. Much of our efforts going forward will also be focused on getting to know our upstream neighbors and looking for solutions benefiting all stakeholders in the watershed.

In these past four years we have come to understand that there is no easy solution that will instantly reduce phosphorous and nitrogen in the watershed.  With 23.4 million gallons flowing through the watershed on average each day, the solution must be watershed-wide. We know that water quality is important to all stakeholders in the watershed.  It’s not just about recreational users.  Many of our upstream neighbors grow cranberries and row crops dependent on clean water, and all of us drink from the groundwater, so we all have to be part of the solution.