Members of the Kangaroo Lake Association (KLA) gathered at the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor the morning of Sept. 10 for the presentation of a prestigious Partnership Award from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Presenting the award was Justine Hasz, the DNR’s fisheries bureau director. She was joined by fisheries biologist Steve Hogler, whose territory includes Door, Brown, Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties.
Previous to Hasz assuming leadership of the fisheries bureau last year, the winners of the Partnership Awards in the four districts in the state would travel to a state fisheries gathering in Wisconsin Dells to be presented the award in front of more than 200 DNR fisheries specialists.
“I didn’t think it showed our true appreciation of all these partnerships,” she said, adding that she thought it would be more meaningful if she traveled to personally present the awards to the winning groups.
Since only four awards are given each year, one to each district, Hasz said they are not easy to come by. She added that the “amazing” and multi-pronged efforts of the KLA made it easy to choose the organization for the award.
“Seeing all the things that this group has done, you’ve really thought about the health of the lake and water quality,” she said, naming efforts such as the fish sticks program designed to improve fish habitat, 20 years of water quality monitoring by KLA member Paul Mahlberg, planting bulrushes and establishing a slow, no-wake zone.
“Hand-pulling Eurasian water milfoil! You guys are hardcore. Seriously!” Hasz said. “It is amazing all the great things you’ve done. I really appreciate all the effort you have put in.”
“On behalf of the board of directors past and present, we’re very proud and thankful for this,” said KLA President Tom Schneider in accepting the award. “We know we can’t do these things ourselves, so collaborating with partners is an absolutely fundamental way we try to operate.”