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.
For the past several years, EWM densities have increased as we transitioned away from using 2-4-D, the herbicide we historically used to chemically treat EWM. This chemical is no longer an option due to DNR regulations. We have three options available to manage EWM: mechanical harvesting, DASH services, and chemical treatment. In 2022, the Board of Directors approved our ‘Dock In’ and ‘Dock Out’ strategy. We contracted with Aquatic Plant Management, LLC, who purchased a state-of-the-art mechanical harvester. This harvester focuses on EWM removal near residential properties away from docks (‘Dock Out’). We also provide members access to Diver Assisted Suction Harvesting (DASH) services to remove EWM around their docks and boat lifts (‘Dock In’). In 2023, we have applied for a small-scale DNR grant for chemical treatment in areas of the lake where the harvester is too large to access.
Our recently-enhanced Lake Steward Program educates and asks property owners to execute five small steps that make a significant difference in preserving and protecting the health of Tomahawk Lake. Refer to the Lake Steward Program.
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 consultant, Onterra LLC, prepares a series of comprehensive grant applications to receive grants from the Wisconsin DNR. Third, our president also reaches out 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 three tiers of membership for your consideration to help fund the various EWM and Shoreland Preservation programs. Members in our top two tiers, Soaring Eagles and Whispering Pines, also receive access to Aquatic Plant Management DASH services at discounted rates.
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