Underwater annoyances could devalue homes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Underwater annoyances could devalue homes

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 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

NEWBOLD (WAOW) -- Many value waterfront homes more than landlocked ones, but some creatures below the water's surface could actually decrease property value.

Experts said Newbold is one place underwater invaders could threaten the town's economy.

Town leaders said keeping the lakes nice and clean is especially a priority because 70% of their property taxes come from lakefront homes.

"We talk a good game when it comes to lakes," said Town Board Supervisor Scott Eshelman. "We say that they're one of our best resources and they are."

In a town with more than a hundred lakes, it's easy to take the beauty of the waterfront for granted.

"They can become very abundant very quickly," said Lawrence Eslinger , the Oneida County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. "They're very aggressive, so they tend to out-compete the native species and that disrupts the natural ecosystem processes."

They are what experts refer to as "aquatic invasive species" or A-I-S. Some can be seen with the naked eye and others are so tiny, you'd need a microscope to find them. If left alone, they can overrun plants and animals that usually thrive near the water. But experts said there are some things you can do.

"Treat every water body like it could have an invasive species in it," said Eslinger. "And make sure you clean your equipment, remove any plants or animals."

But keeping the waters clean isn't good enough by itself. Small lake associations petitioned the DNR for grants to help educate people in the area.

"The amounts have been relatively small because an individual lake association does not garner the attention that it would if it had more efforts behind it," said Eshelman.

So the associations joined forces, creating the town's new lake committee -- the first of its kind in the county. And together, they hope to inspire others to protect the beauty and peacefulness town leaders say the Northwoods is famous for.

"We can do more and we have to do more. These invasive species don't let up," said Eshelman. "They're always after our lakes so we need to be vigilant about protecting our lakes from them."

Eshelman said he hopes other communities in the area will join together in this effort to help keep the lakes clean.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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