Who We Are

In September, 2016 a floor motion to approve funding of a citizen-led committee to seek solutions to the water quality problems of our lakes was approved at the annual meeting of the TriLakes Management District. With the support of TriLakes we formed a citizen-led committee, named the 14 Mile Watershed Joint Committee, with representatives from each of our three lakes, and advisors from Adams County and the Department of Natural Resources.  Our Town of Rome added their support and expanded our reach to all waters in the town, including Lake Petenwell, where the 14 Mile Creek empties into the Wisconsin River basin.  Our objective at the time was to identify the cause of the water quality issues and find a solution to the algae problem in our lakes. 

From a small group of committed volunteers the committee expanded to include over twenty members. With guidance from our advisors, our primary approach was to understand and begin resolving our own contributions to the water quality issue within our lakes before approaching our upstream 14 Mile Watershed neighbors, and also to begin a testing program that would provide scientifically credible testing data pointing us toward a solution.  We worked with town officials and local professional fertilizer applicators to adopt more stringent guidelines for our fertilizer ordinance for lakefront properties, and we recognized our supportive neighbors with a “Clean Water Cooperator” sign. 

Our committee embraced the DNR’s Healthy Lakes grant initiative with over 50 lake area projects in process or completed in the past 4 years.  These projects reduce nutrient runoff and soil erosion, and improve habitat for fish.  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 state’s Citizen Lake Monitoring Network water testing program beyond just phosphorous and chlorophyll to include nitrogen measurement as well.  We have tested for flow and nutrients upstream in the watershed in various locations these past 40 months following a structured process, and 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.

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.  

The 14 Mile Committee has been honored with the state’s DNR Secretary/Director’s award for outstanding service in support of the DNR’s natural resource mission.  Also, we recently received EPA and DNR approval for the Nine Key Element Plan for restoration of the 38-mile long, 4-county, 55,000+ acre watershed.  This is a 10-year, $8 million plan involving more than 50 stakeholder groups throughout the watershed. Approval was a 2½ year process spearheaded by our Adams County Conservationist, Kason Morley, and DNR’s Andrew Craig, and the first Nine Key Element Plan to include both surface water and  groundwater. 

Approval of the Nine Key Element Plan became the driving force behind the committee’s recently expanded mission statement and goals, and the driver for us to reorganize as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and make our group more open and welcoming to all stakeholders from Plainfield on down to Lake Petenwell.  So, from our perspective the hard work is just beginning.

To learn more about who we are please watch the video from our March 12 presentation for Wisconsin Water Week.

To explore opportunities to help with our work please click here.

Leadership

14 Mile Watershed Alliance Committee Members:

  • Bob Benkowski – Lake Arrowhead
  • Rick Georgeson – Lakes Petenwell and Castle Rock
  • Gary Gross – Lake Arrowhead
  • John Haugen – Town of Rome advisor
  • Dave Keuler – Arrowhead
  • Karen Knotek – Lake Sherwood
  • Gus Mancuso – Academic outreach
  • Scott Provost – DNR key advisor
  • Phil Rockenbach – Lake Arrowhead
  • Alex Tomsyck – Business member
  • Dave Trudeau – Lake Sherwood
  • Jerry Wiessinger – Lake Sherwood
  • Don Ystad – Lake Camelot

Standing Committees:

  • Publicity and Community Outreach
  • Watershed Research
  • Environmental Quality/Grant Development
  • Finance
  • Partnership Development

14 Mile Watershed Alliance Contributors:

  • Christina Anderson – WI Land & Water water resources mgr (9 Key Element Plan)
  • Jennifer Bergman – DNR advisor
  • Andrew Craig – DNR non-point source planning coordinator (9 Key Element Plan)
  • Anna James – Adams County Conservation lakes advisor
  • Kyle Kettner – 9 Key Element Plan
  • Dr. Paul McGinley – UWSP advisor
  • Dr. Steve Oberle – agronomy and groundwater advisor

14 Mile Watershed Alliance Directors:

  • Bob Benkowski
  • Barb Herreid
  • Karen Knotek
  • Phil Rockenbach
  • David Trudeau
  • Donald Ystad

14 Mile Watershed Alliance Officers:

  • President – Dave Trudeau
  • Vice-President – Don Ystad
  • Secretary – Barb Herreid
  • Treasurer – Phil Rockenbach