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Geneva Lake Conservancy (GLC), Geneva Lake Environmental Agency (GLEA)

GOAL: To reduce phosphorous loading to Geneva Lake and other Walworth County waterways.



  1. Educate landowners, including farmers, lake association leaders and other lakefront property owners throughout the county on how to reduce phosphorus and other pollutants in Walworth County waterways.

  2. Provide funds and assistance to landowners to implement Best Management Practices to reduce phosphorus and other pollutants in Walworth County watersheds.

  3. Form alliances with Southeast Wisconsin Regional Plan Commission (SEWRPC), Lauderdale Lake Association, Whitewater Rice Lake Management District (WRLMD), Walworth County Conservation Office and others with watershed improvement goals to strengthen the impact of phosphorus reduction initiatives.

  4. Target areas of greatest need to fund greatest phosphorus reduction impact.

  5. Provide data showing areas of need and measure pollutants entering county lakes and other 2waterways before and after implementing program elements. 




1. MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE MEETINGS – GLEA and GLC will meet with municipalities surrounding Geneva Lake over winter 2019 to present the phosphorus problem and discuss municipal actions and support to address the problem. This will including providing model ordinances addressing construction runoff issues, stormwater, and yard waste. Municipalities will also be provided information on funding to add more buffer zones on their lakefront property. Other municipalities in Walworth County will be sent information with available resources for assistance in implementing phosphorus reduction measures.

Timetable: January - March, 2019

Cost: $500 (GLC)

Alliance members: GLC and GLEA

2. BIG FOOT CREEK WATERSHED STUDY – GLEA will take the lead in investigating  and ultimately abaiting degraded water quality in the Big Foot Creek Watershed and discharges to Geneva Lake. Phase I will include initial water quality sampling and analysis. Phase II will involve any additional sampling, needed to identify alternative best management practices. Phase III will involve the implementation of best management practices. GLEA has already received a $5,000 grant for this initiative and is applying for a Small-Scale Lake Management Grant of $3,000. Grants will also be pursued for the Phase II and Phase III. See Attachment A for more background on Phase I. Phase II and III are yet to be defined and will be based upon findings of preceding phases.


Phase I: April - December, 2019

Cost: $2,740 (GLEA), $3,000 WI DNR grant

Phase II: February - December, 2020

Cost: Estimated at $75,000 (Cost share with WDNR Lake Protection Grant. Max. $50,000/yr., $25,00 per grant, with 67/33 cost share)

Phase III:  February - TBD, 2021Depends upon BMP

Alliance MembersGLEA,  GLC, WI DNR, and Environmental Education Foundation


3. PHOSPHORUS AND SOIL TESTING LETTER – A follow-up letter to the fall letter to lakefront property owners on Geneva Lake, Whitewater Lake, and Rice Lake will be sent in spring 2019, repeating efforts property owners can take to reduce phosphorus and encouraging them to have their soil tested before using any fertilizer on their property. A first letter will also be sent to Lauderdale Lake Association members, modeling the letter sent in Fall, 2018. GLEA will write the soil testing letter and GLC will write the Lauderdale Lakes letter, as well as having soil testing kits available for pick-up at its Mill House offices.

Timetable: April - May

Cost: $2,000 (GLC)

Alliance Members: GLEA, GLC, LLA WRLD

4. WORKSHOP FOR HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATONS – GLC will take the lead in organizing a workshop for lakefront homeowner association board members and leaders on May 4 to inform them of measures their associations can take to reduce phosphorus runoff from their properties. Representatives from all partner groups will make presentations and recommendations and grant funding will also be discussed. Save the Date cards will be sent in February with a follow-up invitation to all homeowners associations in the County.

Timetable: February – May

Cost: $2,000 (GLC)

Alliance Members: Walworth County, GLC, GLEA, GLA, WRLD, and SEWRPC

5. TESTING OF SOUTH SHORE STREAMS – GLC and GLEA will conduct three DNA testing of E. coli in three South Shore streams of Geneva Lake that have reported or are suspected of having high phosphorus runoff to determine whether the source of the E. coli is human or animal waste. This will allow the alliance to help identify property owners responsible for the polluted runoff and help them develop solutions to reduce phosphorus pollution.

Timetable: May - August

Cost: $3,600 (GLC-Simms)

Alliance Members: Walworth County, GLC and GLEA

6. PROVIDE ASSISTANCE IN HEALTHY LAKES GRANTS – GLC and a consultant will work with homeowners’ associations and individual property owners to apply for Healthy Lakes grants to fund buffer strips along their lakefront to absorb phosphorus runoff. GLC will pay a consultant who has worked with Whitewater Lake property owners to work with Geneva Lake property owners and GLC to apply for and administer these grants.

Timetable: All year

Cost: $1,000 (GLC)

Alliance Members: WRLD and GLC

7. IDENTIFY GOLF COURSE TO RECEIVED AUDUBON CERTIFCATION – GLC board members and staff will identify a golf course in Walworth County that would be a good candidate for certification from the Audubon Society as a “green” golf course. Priority will be given to lakefront golf courses. GLC will provide assistance to the golf course in meeting the requirements and publicizing a successful applicant.

Timetable: All year

Cost: $200 (for photos, copies, publicity)

Alliance Members: GLC

8. ASSIST FARMERS IN IMPLEMENTING BEST PRACTICES – Walworth County Conservation Department, GLEA, and GLC will identify farmers to target for assistance from the County and other organizations in implementing best practices – such as cover crops and riparian strips – to reduce phosphorus runoff. GLC will investigate working with the County to pay targeted farmers in the Geneva Lake watershed to plant cover crops.

Timetable: Upon completion of South Shore water test results

Cost: 1,000 (GLC-from Simms grant)

Alliance Members: Walworth County, GLC, GLEA

9. SEND FALL LETTER TO GLA, LLA AND WRMD MEMBERS – Send a letter reporting on the Homeowners Association workshop and subsequent initiatives by property owners to reduce runoff. Repeat phosphorus reduction recommendations.

Timetable: September - October

Cost: $2,000

Alliance Members: GLC, GLEA, WRLD, LLA



GLEA: $25,000

GLC: $13,300

*Approximately $3,000 to be funded by Simms grant

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