The Tomahawk Lake Association is a not-for-profit, 501c(3) organization of people who care about Tomahawk Lake.
The Tomahawk Lake Association was formed in 1989 by local residents to help inform, educate and organize the approximately 400 waterfront property owners on Tomahawk Lake on issues crucial to the continued quality of the shore land and water of our lake, as well as the care and maintenance it requires.
Because we are a 501c(3) organization, we can receive tax-deductible gifts as well as seek grants from the DNR and other government agencies.
The Tomahawk Lake Association is the only resource dedicated exclusively to Tomahawk Lake. This does not mean that the issues we address necessarily are unique to our lake, but they are of high concern to those who care about our lake. Tomahawk Lake unites us as an “interest group,” and therefore gives us greater capacity to have an impact on our shared concerns through our combined efforts, financial resources and political influence.
There are many issues of current and potential concern to property owners on Tomahawk Lake, from boating safety to the management of the water level. However the two greatest concerns at this time are the need to control the spread of Eurasian Water Milfoil (EWM), and shoreland preservation and stormwater management.
EWM is an invasive species of seaweed that reproduces rapidly and has the potential to choke much of the lake, making it almost impossible to use, and adversely affecting wildlife. Parts of Tomahawk Lake are seriously threatened already, and the Tomahawk Lake Association has been leading the way in battling it. To date, there is no known permanent solution to the problem – all we can do is continually fight its spread.
Shoreland restoration and stormwater management techniques are designed to help homeowners manage their property to limit the nutrient and soil runoff into the lake. These programs are designed to encourage the restoration and maintenance of natural shorelines with an ultimate goal of improving lake water quality.
We have organized volunteers to address EWM in numerous ways. First, we have volunteers continually search for and identify EWM infestations on Tomahawk Lake, so that they can be addressed. Other volunteers dive and carefully remove patches by hand. (Fortunately, EWM only grows at a depth of 20 feet or less.) Still other volunteers staff boat landings to educate boaters about how they can prevent the spread of EWM. The strongest defense, however, is chemical treatment, and this costs money. The DNR makes meaningful matching grants to help cover the cost of the purchase and application of these tested and approved chemicals, but formal lake associations like ours must raise a share of the funds. As more areas of infestation are identified, more funds are required.
Our shoreland restoration program is just getting started, and will assist property owners with a variety of tools, information, site surveys, demonstration sites, and sample design documents for various types of shoreland preservation projects typically encountered by Tomahawk Lake property owners.
There are three main ways we that we raise funds each year to support the multitude of efforts of the association. Most importantly, our biggest source of income is from Membership Dues and other generous contributions from our members. Secondly, our Executive Director prepares a series of comprehensive grant applications to receive grants from the Wisconsin DNR. Third, he also makes annual presentations to each of the town boards during their respective annual budget meetings and they in turn commit a portion of their revenue to the TLA.
In recent years, the WDNR grants we have historically received have decreased due to an overall smaller pool of available grants and increased competition from other lake associations throughout the state. As a result of this trend, TLA members are now funding a larger portion of our annual operating costs. We have established two higher tiers of membership for your consideration based on our original “Fair Share” concept of having at least 75% of property owners contribute at least $270 or more to help fund the various EWM and Shoreland Preservation programs. Our “Fair Share Plus” and “Fair Share Platinum” memberships are not only needed but very much appreciated.
Our goal is to preserve and protect Tomahawk Lake. Our success will be measured by the management of EWM, and the education of property owners as to Shoreland Preservation and Stormwater Management techniques. If we are successful, we will maintain the high water quality that has been the hallmark of the Lake for the last 50 years. This in turn will help maintain strong property values and allow future generations to enjoy the lake.
To promote and enhance the health of the Tomahawk Lake System and its watershed.
The Tomahawk Lake System is a place where water quality, wildlife habitat, natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and peace and tranquility are maintained and improved for present and future generations to enjoy.
The Tomahawk Lake and Little Tomahawk Lake are designated as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW) by the Wisconsin DNR. Only 1 percent of all Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers, and streams have received this designation. We as an association promote and encourage land and water management practices that serve to maintain or enhance the ORW designation. For further information on the ORW designation go to DNR Surface Water