Van Vliet Lake Association

Lake Level Letter



2016 Whitewater APMP

2015 Onterra Final Report

2015 Onterra Appendices

2014 Onterra presentation

2012 Aquatic Plants Committee

2012 Approved APMP

APMP Progress

2011 DNR Visit Notes

Aquatic Plants Factsheet

Aquatic Plant Management Program

2009 Declining Lakes Conference

2009 APMP Update

2008 DNR Visit Report

2008 Opinion Poll Results

Lake Level Concerns

2007 Lake Level Letter




May 4, 2007

Van Vliet Lake Association
C/o Jeff Burke
12099 Streator Rd.
Presque Isle, WI 54557


The Van Vliet Lake Association in Vilas County is grateful for the Lake Planning Grant that DNR funded to help in the development of a Plan for our lake to help in the preservation of its quality, recreational use, and quality improvement. The next step is the development of an implementation plan and a model to guide that effort in the future, building on the information gathered during the Lake Planning grant. We are indeed happy to have partnered with DNR in our mutual interest of preserving and improving the beauty, quality of water and fishing, and recreational use of our chain of three lakes in one of the few remaining Wisconsin “wilderness areas”.

We have developed another problem in our chain of lakes, which threatens the quality of the lakes and the beauty and recreational use. Van Vliet Lake is a relatively shallow lake that is subject to extensive plant growth, especially in times of low lake water levels. The water levels in our three lakes have been maintained by three beaver dams on the Presque Isle River that carries the drainage waters from the Presque Isle chain from Wisconsin, through Michigan and to Lake Superior. Members of our Association have owned property on Van Vliet Lake for over forty years and report that, while there have been variations of lake levels over these forty years due to weather variations, last year the water level was substantially below the lowest level observed over these forty years.

Members of our Association have gone down the Presque Isle River and viewed the beaver dams, all three of which were blown up last winter (early 2006) to result in the lowering of the water levels in Presque Isle, Averill, and Van Vliet lakes by approximately 14”. We understand that there was one party on Presque Isle Lake that complained that her stationary pier was too low in the water and she wanted the water level lowered in the lake to benefit her situation. We cannot say that this individual’s problem resulted in the damage to the beaver dams, but the destruction to those dams was man made and not of natural causes. This act of destruction has altered, substantially, lake levels that existed for at least forty years. Our lake is experiencing heavy plant growth, hurting recreational use of our lake, aesthetic beauty, and essentially denying access to our lake and the chain by numerous property owners who are located on relatively shallow bays. The excessive plant growth will adversely affect the water quality and with yearly die off of the summer’s growth will substantially build up the bottom deposits and hasten the aging of this pristine lake, adversely affecting its excellent fishing, recreational use and degrading property values and aesthetics. The good of the majority is being held hostage by the selfish acts of someone who took it upon themselves to destroy those beaver dams.

We note that, according to DNR Rules, it is illegal to damage a beaver dam unless it can be shown that it has resulted in significant damage to the adjoining property owner(s). Since these dams have existed for many years it is doubtful that any one can make a case that the dams suddenly caused significant damage to existing property unless the property was altered, not taking into account the previous water levels that have existed over these many years. We understand that no permits have been sought or granted to destroy the dams and thus the act would be considered in violation of DNR Rules ands thus illegal and our Association requests written clarification and interpretation of any statutes or rules pertaining to ongoing dam tampering, destruction and removal by citizens.

Our Lake Association and its many members are asking for action from the State of Wisconsin to investigate and correct this problem before the damage is irreversible. DNR has been a partner with Associations such as ours in the preservation and improvement of Wisconsin’s great lakes and we desperately call upon the State of Wisconsin to partner with us now to solve this problem, a problem that adversely affects three great Wisconsin lakes

We call upon you to research this problem and implement a solution in the interest of preserving our lakes and the interests of affected lakeshore property owners, and indeed the good of the citizens of the State as well as the many tourists and visitors that enjoy these valuable State resources. We are copying this letter to many parties whom we feel have or should have an active interest in helping to resolve this flagrant, illegal act and its resulting damage to three significant lakes in this State.

We thank you in advance for your anticipated help and cooperation in this matter and we ask that you notify us of your actions in helping to resolve this matter. We also request that those to whom this letter has been copied and who agree with the need to protect our valuable lake resources and are willing to lend their support and influence toward resolving this problem contact us to indicate their interest, willingness to use their influence and authority in the resolve of this matter. We hope that others are as concerned as we are that acts of a few not be allowed to hurt the overriding interests of the multitude and the State as a whole.

With sincerity and determination,

President-Jeff Burke-for the Board
Van Vliet Lake Association

Copies to: DNR Secretary Scott Hassett, DNR Board, Town of Presque Isle Board, Vilas County Board, Senator Breski and Rep. Dan Meyer, Governor Jim Doyle, WI. Assoc. of Lakes, Vilas County Lakes Assoc., FYI, Presque Isle Lake Association

Author’s note:
The original text of this letter (modified for current time) was drafted by Van Vliet Lake Association member and lakeshore property owner George Kupfer last summer (July 2006). The Lake Association Board has directed current president Jeff Burke to disseminate this information as widely as possible. Burke has since discovered that the partially rebuilt beaver dam (as of late fall 2006) which was still intact the last week in April of this year, has since been destroyed again.