DNR investigates littering case on Lake Winnebago

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) -- Thousands of people enjoyed a weekend on the ice.

Garbage pile discovered on Lake Winnebago off of Merritt Street in Oshkosh.

"We do have people who, on occasion, leave debris on the lake. It's illegal," said Lt. Chris Shea with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "It's illegal in the State of Wisconsin to discharge or leave litter on Lake Winnebago or any other lake in Wisconsin."

Shea says the DNR is aware of numerous littering cases on Lake Winnebago this fishing season.

One specific incident is getting a lot of attention on social media. A Facebook post displaying pictures of a garbage pile three miles out from Merritt Avenue in Oshkosh has been shared more than 1,400 times in less than 24 hours.

"That individual should be getting that material to be cleaned up today, and we're going to be working with them," said Shea.

Joe Priewe drove past the trash which he says included 41 bottles, 6 McDonald's bags, an oil filter box and a shoe box.

In a Facebook message to Action 2 News, Priewe says he picked up many pieces of garbage from the pile. "It wasn't my trash, but it was still my responsibility to clean it up. No one likes a dirty shoreline come spring."

"The nice thing we have in this community is people take this stuff really seriously," said Shea. "There's so many people out here paying attention, that in most cases we find out who the individual is responsible and do get that cleaned up."

Shea expects the people who left the garbage to pay a $200 fine plus cleanup costs. That is the starting fine for littering in Wisconsin lakes, and that price goes up based on the amount of trash left behind and the presence of hazardous materials.

"Obviously, Lake Winnebago is a water supply for a lot of us that live here on the lake. That's a big problem," said Shea. "We don't want to be drinking that kind of stuff that gets in there."

Littering should be reported to the local sheriff's office or to the Wisconsin DNR at 1-800-TIPWDNR. That number is toll-free and monitored 24 hours a day.

We welcome comments and civil discussions. powered by Disqus