TOWNSEND - Water levels are down at a popular vacation in the Northwoods.
But so are the levels of pesky invasive species.
However, lower water levels mean fewer boats out on the Townsend Flowage.
It's affecting some people's vacation plans.
In order to combat the growing signs of invasive species, the Townsend Flowage water level was lowered six feet at the end of last season. The move was designed to help this popular vacation spot in Oconto County be more attractive to boaters, swimmers and tourists.
"It's worked as far as controlling the weeds and the milfoil. It's done an excellent job," said Dan Coopman, the Townsend Flowage Association president.
Coopman says while the water is clearer, there's a new problem this year threatening tourism: A lack of water.
"They filled the other flowage first, and now we haven't gotten any amount of rain to speak of, and pretty much the spring runoff is all gone, so the other flowage is full. And it is going over the dam on the other flowage, but it's not going over fast enough to fill ours," explained Coopman.
Last year, the water came all the way up to this wooden barrier. But this year, folks are standing on dry beach.
"The water level's down a couple feet. So, for us on the beach it's nice but we can't use our boat this year because we'll probably hit stumps, they say. We'll have to go to a different lake to do tubing and skiing and stuff," said Joe Thomson of De Pere.
Thomson and his family say they have stayed here at the Birch Hill Resort for the past three years.
Though the water wasn't low enough for the Thomson's to cancel, the resort owners say two other reservations have backed out so far this month due to the water conditions.
Even though the flowage is low, the brews keep flowing at Markuby's Bar and Grill, as vacationers find other ways to pass the time.
"As long as the beer is cold and the service is good, they're all happy," said bartender Dennis Borchardt.
But, locals know the situation is far from perfect. And while rain isn't ideal for vacationers, when it comes to the filling the flowage, a little rain couldn't hurt.
The Townsend Flowage Association President says without more rainfall, he does not expect water levels to return to normal.
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