Restoration of lakes underway after drawdown

      With the winter drawdown and dredging of Cravath and Trippe lakes in the rearview mirror, Whitewater officials are turning their attention toward restorative efforts as warm weather sets in.

      At a Common Council meeting May 3, Eric Boettcher, parks and recreation director, provided an update on the work that has been completed at Whitewater’s two major waterways, as well as what’s ahead this year and beyond.

      The winter drawdown was focused on removing the lakes of the invasive species that have crowded out native plants, fish and other aquatic life through dredging.

      “We’re on to the next phase, which is the restoration plan,” Boettcher said in his report to the council.

      This month, Boettcher said a series of activities are planned, including lakeshore restoration work that involves placing logs along the shoreline to mitigate erosion.

      Another project on the radar might be limited in scope, Boettcher said, because of the amount of precipitation that has already filled both lakes up this spring. Weather permitting, there is an effort to undertake lake bed burning, likely near the boat launch area of Cravath Lake.

      “There won’t be much else that we’ll be able to burn because it’s already under water,” Boettcher said.

      Crews will replenish both lakes with new live plants in a series of phases — one installation set to take place this coming June, and the another group in June of 2023.

      Boettcher said the shoreline areas have been targeted for the new live plant installs. Trippe Lake, which is in need of new plants, will receive the bulk of the effort, Boettcher said in his report.

      As the year moves forward, a number of other projects are on the horizon in an effort to help bring the lakes back to their former glory.

      Refilling both lakes is set to take place June 10, and a post-dredging assessment will occur afterward, as the summer progresses.

      Boettcher in his report also touched on fish restocking work, which is to occur with one release of native, desired species this fall and another release in 2023. Fish cribs also are planned for the upcoming winter season.

      During the discussion, Boettcher, as well as City Manager Cameron Clapper, indicated a desire to remove both lakes of as many carp as possible.

      Council member Jim Allen, however, implored officials to take every measure possible to completely eradicate the remaining carp that populate both lakes.

      “They spawn and regenerate quickly,” Allen said. “They ruin the nesting and the habitats for all of the other fish that we’ve already stocked.”

      Allen said his strong remarks are premised on the funds that have been — and will continue to be — allocated toward improving both lakes.

      “This is the only time we can do it,” Allen said. “It just seems crazy not to do it.”

      The dredging and drawdown project has been on the city’s radar screen much of the past half-decade.

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