Lake Ripley Management District

The Lake Ripley Management District (LRMD) was formed in 1990 under the authority of Chapter 33 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Its purpose is to help ensure the protection and effective management of Lake Ripley. The LRMD is a local, special-purpose unit of government that serves close to 2,000 property owners around the lake. LRMD boundaries closely follow those of the Oakland Sanitary District, and incorporate slightly less than one-half of the total watershed area. It is roughly bounded by USH 18 to the north, USH 12 to the south, Simonsen St. to the west, and County Rd. A to the east.

Watershed Fig 14

The LRMD engages in a variety of projects that aim to protect or enhance opportunities for public use and enjoyment of the lake. A seven-member board of directors, one full-time Lake Manager, and two part-time weed-harvesting operators are responsible for administering LRMD activities. The board includes five elected members owning property within the District (serving staggered, three-year terms), as well as appointed representatives from the Town of Oakland and Jefferson County. The Lake Manager is employed by the Board to carry out the activites of the LRMD.

Operational funding may be derived from a combination of local tax dollars, grant awards, private donations, and special assessments or charges. The LRMD is authorized to levy a maximum of 2.5 mills to finance projects that mainain and improve the quality of life on and around Lake Ripley. However, to date, the actual mill rate has remained at or below 0.5 mill. Since 1993, much of our budget was funded by state grants, including around $72,000 per year to implement the Priority Lake Project (which ended on 12/06). Although the Lake District represents about 7% of the land area in Oakland Township, it accounts for nearly 70% of the township's total assessed valuation. This fact highlights the lake's regional significance not only as a popular recreational destination, but also as a magnet for development and economic opportunity.

Lake Ripley Facts

The Big Picture

The Major Threats...

  • Polluted runoff from lands that drain to the lake
  • Cumulative impacts of shoreland development and poor land-use practices
  • Recreational pressures and conflicts
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Draining and filling of wetlands
  • Removal of native shoreline vegetation
  • Introduction and proliferation of non-native, invasive species

The Consequences...

  • Degraded water quality
  • More frequent algae blooms
  • Excessive weed growth
  • Increased recreational conflicts
  • Reduced plant, fish and wildlife diversity
  • Loss of tranquility and natural scenic beauty
  • Increased costs for lake management
  • Diminished property values

The Solutions...

  • Promote responsible growth and low-impact land uses
  • Protect and restore wetlands that attenuate floods, trap pollutants and offer valuable habitat
  • Naturalize shorelines by planting "buffers" that consist of native plants, shrubs and trees
  • Control soil erosion and eliminate sources of polluted runoff
  • Limit hard surfaces like concrete patios, driveways and asphalt parking lots
  • Respect other lake users and wildlife
  • Follow posted rules and regulations
  • Understand the impacts of your actions
  • Support ongoing lake-improvement efforts
  • Educate your friends and neighbors as to what they can do to protect Lake Ripley

Physical and Hydrological Descriptors

Lake surface area: 423.3 acres (main body); 1.7 acres (Vasby’s ditch); 2.5 acres (dredged inlet channel)
Watershed area : 4,688 acres (7.3 square miles)
Watershed-to-lake area ratio: 11:1
Shoreline length: 4.1 miles (main body); 0.57 mile (Vasby’s ditch); 0.95 (dredged inlet)
Max. lake depth: 44 ft.
Mean (average) depth: 18 ft.
Water residence time: 2.85 years (amount of time water resides in the lake before it is flushed out and replaced with new water)
Inlet stream length: 4.25 miles (2.5 miles in 1907, prior to drainage ditching)
Ice-cover period: 102 days (2014-2019 average)
WatShed Overview Fig 1_2

Fun Facts

  • Ole Evinrude, founder of Evinrude Outboard Motors, tested some of his first motors on Lake Ripley in 1907
  • The state record largemouth bass was caught on Lake Ripley in 1940, weighing 11 pounds, 3 ounces
  • O.H. Perry Sr. donated 41 acres of wetlands located adjacent to the Lake Ripley inlet to the DNR around 1940
  • A public sewer system was installed around most of the lake in 1984
  • Lake Ripley was selected by the DNR as one of 50 Wisconsin lakes to receive long-term trends monitoring (e.g. water quality, fisheries, aquatic plants, etc.) in 1986
  • Lake residents purchased Lake Ripley's first mechanical weed harvester in 1989 to combat nuisance Eurasian watermilfoil growth
  • The Lake District acquired the 166-acre Lake District Preserve starting in 1998 to protect threatened natural areas surrounding the lake's only inlet
  • The Lake District acquired an additional 41 acres of wetland from the WDNR in 2017 to further protect the lake's inlet
  • The Lake District has obtained well over $1 million in grants since it was formed in 1990