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Lake Hayward is in the City of Hayward, Sawyer County, Wisconsin. Lake Hayward is 191 acres with brown-stained but clear (non-turbid) water, a maximum depth of 17 feet, and abundant vegetation. Lake Hayward is an impoundment of the Namekagon River and therefore lies along the upper portion or the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. There is one public boat landing and the lake is popular for fishing. Lake Hayward is also the location for the annual Lumberjack World Championship and the ending segment of the annual American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet, and Prince Haakon ski races. As such, many partners have a stake in Lake Hayward and aquatic plant management. Partners include, but aren’t limited to, Lake Hayward Property Owners Association (LHPOA), Sawyer County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), National Park Service, Xcel Energy (dam owner), City of Hayward, Lumberjack World Championships Foundation, and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.

Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM) was first documented in Lake Hayward in 2011 and hybrid watermilfoil (HWM) was verified in 2012. Curly-leaf pondweed was documented in 2006. There was one 2,4-D herbicide treatment of 23 acres to control EWM & HWM in 2013. Herbicide monitoring results in 2013 suggested that 2,4-D did not reach target concentrations, which was likely due to natural flow of water through the impoundment. Even though there was no EWM control since 2013, the EWM/HWM was not found to be the species causing beneficial use impairment during an aquatic plant survey in 2021 (funded by LHPOA). There was, however, significant submersed native vegetation in near-shore areas of some bays.

Prompted by the beneficial use impairment issue, LHPOA partnered with Aquatic Plant & Habitat Services LLC to apply for a Planning Grant through the WDNR. The grant provided funding assistance for a public planning meeting in June 2022, a follow-up planning meeting in August 2022, and update to the aquatic plant management plan for Lake Hayward. A large component of this plan addresses the impairment issue currently associated with native plant species.

This management plan provides background information on Lake Hayward, identifies issues and need for management, reviews past management activities and presents management options. All these components contributed to a strategy that includes the goals listed below and in Section 5.0. The WDNR provides guidance and regulations for managing aquatic ecosystems. This management plan adheres to DNR guidance (specifically Chapters NR107, NR109, NR40 and Chapter 30/31) and proposed actions will be implemented in compliance with state laws and regulations.