Ken is one of a few volunteers working with the DNR and Washington County Parks and Planning to educate residents living on area lakes regarding invasive aquatic species and how they can be stopped from spreading all over Wisconsin lakes.
Hopefully more Washington County residents, who live on lakes in our County, will read what this volunteer group is doing. See Read More for more information.
Thank You to Ken Hebbe for doing this great work both for Lake Five in the Village of Richfield as well as other lakes in the County.
Richfield man to spend weekend educating on invasive species
By JILL BADZINSKI For the Daily News
Richfield resident Ken Hebbe will spend the Fourth of July on Big Cedar Lake, but he won’t be enjoying a picnic like many.
Hebbe will be among volunteers taking part in a Landing Blitz, a cooperative effort between the state Department of Natural Resources and Washington County Park and Planning Department to raise awareness of invasive aquatic species and the role recreational boaters can play in stopping them from spreading throughout Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers and waterways.
On Friday and Saturday, Hebbe will partner with Brad Steckart, Washington County’s aquatic invasive species coordinator, at the Gonring Drive boat launch on Big Cedar Lake. Other volunteers will be stationed at public boat launches throughout the county. They will approach boaters who are leaving the lakes and offer to teach them about the transmission of invasive species, like zebra mussels and Asian milfoil. All boats will be inspected and those that need it will be decontaminated for free by volunteers and DNR water guards using the DNR’s DECON pressure washer units.
“Some people will be interested in what we are doing and some won’t,” Hebbe said. “But we still need to try. I believe in clean water and we have to keep working on achieving that. It’s all about educating people.
“Will we reach all of the people? No. But if we get a few to listen to what we are saying it will be a step in the right direction,” he said.
About half of Washington County’s 52 lakes have been affected by invasive species, including eight with zebra mussels. Invasives can be transported from one lake to another on boats and trailers, as well as personal watercraft, including kayaks, canoes and inflatables.
“A cup of water left inside a kayak can have a million zebra mussels eggs it in,” Hebbe said. “It doesn’t take a big boat to cause a big problem.”
Boater Joe Hyatt of Slinger said he will be interested in learning more about what he can do to stop the spread of invasives. Hyatt went fishing on Little Cedar Lake Sunday, launching from Ackerman’s Grove.
“I’ve seen the signs, but I never really thought about it,” he said.
“Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers” signs and boat-cleaning stations are placed near the launch.
“I doubt I’m causing a problem, but I guess they’ll tell me if I am,” Hyatt said.
Hebbe has volunteered to help Steckart on other clean water projects so it was an easy decision to give up his holiday weekend for this one.
“I have gotten so much out of nature that now it’s time to give back,” said Hebbe, 71. “There are so many people who don’t give a rip that those of us who do need to step up,” he said.
Hebbe is a frequent user of Wisconsin’s waterways. He lives on Lake Five and spends time at his cabin near the Fox River. On Sunday, he conducted an interview by cellphone from his boat on the Fox River.
“Nature is so important to me and I want to do what I can to preserve it,” he said. “There are so many ways to dirty up the water, we have to work on cleaning it, too.
“It might seem it’s a losing battle, but we have to do something about it. We have to try.”
Anyone who would like to assist with the Landing Blitz on the Fourth of July weekend can attend a training session from 6:30-8 p.m. tonight in room 1023 at the Public Agency Center, 333 E. Washington St. Those who can’t make the training session, but would like more information or want to help at another time can contact Steckart at 262-335-4806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There are so many ways to dirty up the water, we have to work on cleaning it, too.
... It might seem it’s a losing battle, but we have to do something about it. We have to try.”
– Ken Hebbe
Richfield resident and Landing Blitz volunteer