Management Issues, Characteristics and Effectiveness of Lake Associations and Lake Districts in Wisconsin

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Department or Administrative Unit


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Through a state-wide survey, this paper compares the characteristics of lake associations and lake districts, including their management objectives, issues, activities, and use of funds and contacts. It also examines the relationships between reported management activities and effectiveness and the nature of the issues, lake characteristics, and organizational characteristics. Lake associations and districts have distinct goals and significant differences in the lake issues each finds important, their activities, and effectiveness. Overall, lake districts tend to initiate higher numbers of actions on important issues, while lake associations tend to report a significantly higher proportion of management actions effectively addressing those issues. Lake associations and districts also differ greatly in their sources of revenue and expenditures, with lake districts having significantly higher amounts in both. We found a positive correlation between the total number of lake management activities undertaken by lake management organizations and the number of cottages, percentage of permanent residents, and property values found on their lake, as well as their membership sizes and annual membership fees. The number of cottages and membership sizes were also significantly correlated with the number of management activities initiated, while the number of cottages was the only factor significantly correlated with the number of issues effectively addressed. We found that organizations affiliated with Wisconsin Association of Lakes are engaged insignificantly higher number of activities and effective solutions. In addition, significantly higher numbers of activities are undertaken by lake districts, as well as organizations that are incorporated and have written by-laws.


This article was originally published in Lake and Reservoir Management. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Lake and Reservoir Management


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