Lake Onalaska is a 7,688 acre body of water created when Lock and Dam #7 inundated former backwater areas of the upper Mississippi River in 1937. The entire Lake is within the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and all of the shorelands surrounding the Lake are owned by federal agencies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). The Lake Onalaska Protection and Rehabilitation District is an association of property owners whose land adjoins the federal shorelands, formed under Wisconsin Statutes, to play a role in the planning and management of the Lake's resources (more info.). Lake Onalaska has abundant fish resources, hosts large numbers of migrating waterfowl in spring and fall, and provides diverse human recreational interests.
More Aquatic Invasive Species Found on Lake Onalaska
In early October 2015, Water lettuce and water hyacinth were found rapidly spreading near the Brice Prairie shoreline after they were released from a garden pond. USFWS issued a news release about water lettuce on Pool 7. The Lake District has played a very active role in removing these species. For more information and a chronology of events see our invasive species page. No water lettuce or water hyacinth plants were reported during 2016.
In early June 2016, yellow flag iris, a restricted species in Wisconsin, was observed blooming in several isolated clumps near both Mosey Landing and Fred Funk landing on Brice Prairie. Lake District residents, USFWS and Wisconsin Rivers staff and other volunteers removed the plants. Yellow flag iris can spread widely through floating seeds and displaces native shoreland vegetation.
Upcoming Meetings and Events
- Tuesday April 25, 2017, Lake District Social at Castaways on French Island
The spring social for the Lake Onalaska Protection and Rehabilitation District will be held at Castaways on French Island from 5pm to 8pm. This is an informal opportunity to meet with your lake district commissioners, fellow Lake Onalaska area residents, and natural resource agency staff to discuss issues affecting our lake.
- Saturday April 29, 2017, BPCA-sponsored River Cleanup of Pool 7
The Brice Prairie Conservation Association annual river cleanup will begin with check-in at the Fred Funk landing on Brice Prairie at 8am. Trash bags will be provided. Bring a boat if you have one, or just come to the landing and bring a PFD - there will be some opportunities to ride along on others boats. Wear boots and clothing appropriate to the day. This cleanup focuses on upper Pool 7 around Brice Prairie, and includes the Black River Delta area upstream to Trempealeau.
- Saturday May 13, 2017, La Crosse County area cleanup, Pools 7 and 8
This cleanup encompasses a much broader area of Pools 7 and 8. You must pre-register to participate. For more information see: http://mississippirivercleanup.com/
Fred Funk Landing Plans
Semi-final versions of the plans for the upgrades at the Fred Funk Boat Landing on Brice Prairie were presented by MBA Architects in autumn 2014. These plans are being used for working through the permitting processes with various agencies:
COE Revised Land Use Allocation Plan
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a Land Use Allocation Plan (LUAP) document (link to pdf) which updates the original 1983 Master Plan with the intent of providing better information from modern aerial photos and Geographic Information Systems. The document states that "there are no new policy changes made or suggested in this document". The LUAP is used to guide federal agencies in determining what types of public uses should be allowed on federal lands along the upper Mississippi River.
Steve Marking Photo