Letter to the Editor: Forestville Flowage Post-drawdown Update

Dear Clark Lake Advancement Association members, 

We ventured out on the Forestville flowage to the headwaters with our canoe. In our opinion, the environmental devastation is way beyond what we feared. Roughly 70% of the flowage is covered with growth that we did not witness before, and it’s carpeted with algae.

We also observed woody plants with branches growing four to five feet above the surface. We used our iNaturalist app to learn that it was interior sandbar willow, dogwoods, eastern cottonwood, curly-leaf pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil (which was supposed to be controlled by the drawdown).

This is in addition to the thousands of tons of pollutant-loaded sediment that was flushed down the Ahnapee, together with most of the wildlife in the flowage. 

We describe this as an ecological human-made disaster. Snapping and painted turtles laying eggs in our backyard, green herons nesting for many years, otters playing – gone! We spotted no turtles resting on logs, normally prevalent during our pre-drawdown canoe trips.

It is beyond sad that this happened after opposition by local residents and a passionate plea from an environmental engineer with 40-plus years of experience, who told the Door County Board that this two-year drawdown would be a very bad idea.

Clark Lake Advancement Association members: Cherish what you have, and fight for the preservation of your lake.

Robert Sijgers

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin