First Person: Meeting to address invasives on the Rhinelander Flowage
Recent evidence of an increased threat of invasive species on the Rhinelander Flowage is a call to action for one lake property homeowner. Scott Eshelman is organizing a “Learn and Act” meeting this weekend to gather interested community members. We talked with Eshelman about his hopes for the meeting and the flowage.
Star Journal: Where did the idea of the meeting come from?
Scott Eshelman: There have been numerous attempts in the past to form a group to work together to improve the waterway; we are hoping that the increase in invasives being discovered will bring the community together. It’s a huge undertaking. The flowage covers about 1,372 acres, but has about 1,000 property owners living on the water and another 6,000 properties within a mile of the flowage. I would like to see possibly the formation of a Rhinelander Flowage Association so that people with a vested interest in the flowage can work together to improve it.
SJ: The Rhinelander flowage is a big part of life in the Northwoods in general, right?
SE: Correct. It’s something we can take for granted. The flowage and its backwaters provide an economic benefit to numerous businesses, it is a growing recreational agent and it provides abundant wildlife for outdoor sports. Anyone with an interest in any of these benefits should attend the meeting Saturday.
SJ: Who will be speaking?
SE: We have three outstanding speakers lined up. Alan Wirt is a water management specialist and knows the water better than anyone. Stephanie Boismenue is an AIS specialist for Oneida County and has experience fighting invasives on Squash Lake; and we’ll hear from Pat Goggin, who will talk about the pros and cons of lake associations.
SJ: What is your goal for this meeting and the future?
SE: I hope the interest is high. I’d like to see property owners, civic leaders, groups, recreational enthusiasts attend. We want to find out what we know, what we don’t know and where to go from here. The meeting is 10 a.m. Saturday Aug. 16 at the Hodag Park pavilion number 3, nearest the boat landing.
For more information, contact Scott Eshelman at 715-362-4485.