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Fish and Game crew works to clear weeds from Rib Lake

Fish and Game crew works to clear weeds from Rib Lake Fish and Game crew works to clear weeds from Rib Lake

“Something had to be done,” said Rib Lake Fish and Game member, Doug Polacek, about weeds taking up the waters of Rib Lake.

Within the last few months, Rib Lake Fish and Game members and countless volunteers have been working hard to make Rib Lake more visually appealing to visitors and community members and more fun for sportsman and recreational users.

The project came about when a private owner bought some land on the water and offered to give the committee equipment to cut the weeds and that is how this project got underway.

In early August, the project hit the ground running. Out of the 340 acres that make up Rib Lake, the DNR gave the committee a permit to cut 100 acres of the weeds out of the lake.

The giant cutter, can haul 7-8 tons of weeds at a time. Community members have noticed the difference and are very pleased with the results. Polacek stated that this whole experience “has been a community project.” Since August, they have removed over 250 loads of weeds out of the lake. The farmers around the area take what has been removed, and use it for fertilizing their fields and gardens. Polacek also added that this grass is equivalent to cow manure, as far as farmers are concerned.

This is just the latest project undertaken by Rib Lake Fish and Game, over the years, the group has planted over 6,005 Walleyes in the following lakes: Rib Lake 1650; Spirit Lake 630; North Spirit Lake 1065; Diamond Lake 245; Chelsea Lake 300; Sackett Lake 315; Richter Lake 255; Lake Kathryn 175; Shearer Lake 115; Wellington Lake 215; South Harper Lake 415; Lake Esadore 230 and Stone Lake 395.

Gary Polacek, stated that a few years ago, someone from the DNR came into their monthly meeting, took a sample of the weeds that were growing in the lake. From his findings, he concluded that the weeds were non-invasive, which is good news, in theory. However, he also stated that the lake was clear, giving the sun plenty of reason to penetrate the ground under the water, making the weeds grow.

There is a chance in the future that this could be worse than it is currently. Jeff Thums, another member of the committee, remembers that in the early 1960’s, Rib Lake’s water was horrible. It was brown in color, and if the wind blew a certain direction, the smell was unimaginable.

With that being said, removing these weeds has helped the fish population a substantial amount, by giving them room to breathe. Throughout this process, there have been some small fish that have turned up within the weeds, but it is impossible to miss them while they’re cutting.

Many volunteers have come forward and worked with the Fish and Game members to get the lake looking as best they can. All the members agree that this project wouldn’t have been possible without the help from the surrounding organizations and donations that have come in to help them with this. Any other donations that may be given are always greatly appreciated.

Thums said “There are too many people to count when it comes to the volunteers, but you really appreciate living in a small community when so many people just come together to help out their town.”

Some of the volunteers with the Rib Lake Fish and Game crew removing weeds from Rib Lake were: (l. to r.): Back Jeff Thums, Brian Marshke, Dennis Scheithauer. Front, Doug Polacek and Gary Polacek.