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WI Lake Stewardship Award Winner Profile – Tracy Arnold

Tracy Arnold accepts Stewardship Award from WI Lake President Dan Butkus (Photo Credit: Doug Moore)

Portage County Conservation Technician Given Award for Excellence in Professional Service

By Wisconsin Lakes staff

Each year, the Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Partnership hands out its Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Awards at the Wisconsin Lakes & Rivers Partnership Convention in celebration of the extraordinary volunteer and professional efforts made to protect and improve lakes in Wisconsin. The Stewardship Awards represent our best collective effort to honor and celebrate all the incredible work that goes into ensuring the future of our state’s legacy of lakes. In 2024, awards were handed out in four categories. In celebration of National Lakes Appreciation Month this July, Wisconsin Lakes will be highlighting a Lake Stewardship award winner each Monday!

TRACY ARNOLD, winner of the Excellence in Professional Service Award


Working first for Wood and now Portage Counties over the last seventeen years, Tracy Arnold exemplifies the ideal of “working in partnership for our legacy of lakes” that is a key part of the Excellence in Professional Service Award. Over the last five years, she built an incredibly successful lake management and conservation program, evidenced by the wide variety of projects, restorations, and educational activities she’s implemented.

Tracy, a Crew XIII graduate of the WI Lake Leaders Institute is the catalyst that brought together Portage County’s lake and stream organizations to share information about projects, successes, and issues facing the county’s waters, eventually coalescing into the Portage County Lakes and Rivers group. She enhanced accessibility to education about county water issues even further by launching a social media presence for Portage County Lakes and Rivers on Facebook, garnering over 440 resident and organizational followers of this important access point of information.

Because of Tracy’s support of statewide programs, Portage County benefits from data collected on numerous lakes through the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network. And, she is a vocal advocate for the Healthy Lakes and Rivers program, helping to install over 37 native shoreland plantings on nine different water bodies on over 12,900 sq. feet of shoreline.

Finally, Tracy’s passion for education comes through in her work providing presentations on the importance of native plants and shorelines to student groups, even working with students to install rain gardens and native plantings.

One supporter of her nomination summed it up best, stating, “Tracy’s contributions have not only left a lasting positive impact on our local lake, but have also inspired others to take an active role in preserving our natural heritage.”  

Congratulations to Tracy Arnold for this well deserved award!

Do you know an outstanding person or group who dedicates time and talent to our state’s water resources? We encourage you to nominate them for a Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Award! Nominations are now being accepted until December 1, 2024. See the Wisconsin Lake Stewardship Award webpage for more information and to access the nomination form.