Green Lake Association: Caring For Our Lake For Generations

enjoying nature
Photograph provided by Green Lake Association

Twenty thousand years ago, Big Green Lake was not a lake at all, but a very deep valley that stretched east to west. During the last ice age, a receding glacier left piles of sediment and rock that blocked the outlet of the gorge. After the basin filled with water from the melting glacier, Big Green Lake—the deepest natural lake in Wisconsin—was born.

There are 15,000 Wisconsin lakes, 600 of which have homeowners/lake associations. Green Lake Association (GLA) is one of only three lake associations in the state with professional staff. GLA works full-time year-round to take care of the lake that represents so much of the community’s identity.

GLA is a nonprofit organization originally formed in 1951 as a homeowners association. In 2014, GLA distilled its mission to be singularly focused on water quality. Since then, it has focused its efforts toward designing and implementing projects that protect and improve the water quality of Big Green Lake.

Projects are divided into three categories: restoring eroding streams, removing and preventing invasive species, and helping implement best management practices with agricultural neighbors. Additionally, GLA helps support university-led research, provides scholarships to future farmers, and hosts educational and fun events throughout the year.

Taking care of a big lake is a big responsibility. As a nonprofit, member-funded organization, GLA relies on memberships and donations to fund its important lake-loving work. It encourages everyone to protect the lake through personal actions.

Photograph provided by Green Lake Association

When visiting Green Lake, you can prevent the spread of invasive species by following these important steps:
• When entering and leaving a body of water, inspect your boat, trailer, and equipment. Remove all attached plants, mud, and animals.
• Drain water from boats, vehicles, and equipment, even if the water looks clean.
• Never move plants or live fish away from a water body. A fish out of water is legally considered dead.

Residents can help by taking these steps:
• Don’t mow right down to the lakeshore. Leaving a taller grass buffer strip at the edge of the shoreline slows pollutants from making their way into the water and, as a bonus, can prevent geese from making your yard their favorite summer hangout.
• Limit fertilizer use on lawns and fields. Fertilizer helps things grow on land, and will do the same in water. Just one pound of phosphorus can fuel the growth of 500 pounds of weeds and algae. Limiting fertilizer use on your yard, garden, and field directly helps the lake.
• Eliminate bare soil spots in your yard. Soil particles that wash into the lake contain weed- and algae-fueling phosphorous.

If you’re interested in becoming a member, volunteering, obtaining more information, or attending an event, email or call (920) 294-6480. Be sure to mark your calendars for our events below and visit for details.

Jennifer Fjelsted is the communication & project manager at Green Lake Association.

2020 Green Lake Association Events

June 20: Annual Meeting
August 1: Annual Gala
August 15: Conservation Field Day