Do you have a question about the Lake, or need information about the region? The Wonder Lake Master Property Owners Association (MPOA) is available to answer your questions. E-mail: email@example.com or call: (815) 653-1000 The M.P.O.A. office is located at 7602 Hancock Drive, Wonder Lake, IL 60097
In the late 1920’s, a group of developers, collectively known as the Wonder Lake Syndicate, proposed to create a new lake in central McHenry County to anchor new residential subdivisions that would be marketed as weekend getaways for city residents. Wonder Lake, an 830 acre impoundment lake was created in 1929 by the construction of a 22 foot high earthen dam across Nippersink Creek.
The Wonder Lake dam was designed by the same firm that engineered the Panama Canal. The lake has a predominantly agricultural watershed approximately 62,000 acres (97 square miles) in size. This privately owned recreational lake offers swimming, boating, waterfowl hunting, snowmobiling, and fishing opportunities for its members, and is the most significant amenity in the community.
The Wonder Lake Master Property Owners Association (MPOA) formed as property owners association on September 15, 1965, when the Wonder Lake Syndicate relinquished title to the lake bottom of Wonder Lake, and officially turned ownership of the lake over to the property owners. Since that time, the MPOA has continuously controlled the majority of the lake bottom area and maintained the recreational facility known as Wonder Lake.
In 2001, the lake bottom was annexed into the Village of Wonder Lake, which now provides police patrol service during both the boating and snowmobile seasons. There are twenty three subdivisions surrounding Wonder Lake. Seventeen of these subdivisions are currently members of the MPOA, and contain approximately 5,500 lots. As stated in the covenants to each deeded subdivision parcel, every owner of a deeded parcel is a member of their subdivision “by representation”.
In accordance with the MPOA By-Laws, there is one subdivision representative for each 100 platted parcels in each subdivision. This representational form of government mirrors the “population based” composition of the Illinois House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. These subdivision representatives are called Delegates, and in accordance with the MPOA By-Laws, they meet once a year to approve an annual MPOA budget, elect the MPOA Officers, and consider any suggested MPOA By-Law changes.
Each subdivision also selects one of their Delegates to serve as a Director on the MPOA Board of Directors. Each subdivision Director can cast a weighted number of votes, based upon one vote for each 100 lots (or part thereof) in their subdivision. As an example, a Director representing a subdivision with 125 platted lots has 2 votes. There are currently a maximum of 68 Director votes present at each MPOA meeting.
Over the years, the accumulation of sediment in the lake, contributed by tributary streams and shoreline erosion, began to reduce water depths and impair water clarity. The need to dredge Wonder Lake to remove the accumulated sediment was first proposed in 1964; however, no action was taken. It wasn’t until 1994 that the MPOA delegates, recognizing their responsibility to all property owners with lake rights, approved by-law changes that mandated the MPOA directors to meet monthly and to become a pro-active force in the management of the lake.
In an effort to focus their efforts to manage the lake, the Directors established the following goals:
•Promote subdivision cooperation
•Improve the water quality of the lake, (to include the development of a lake renewal / restoration plan)
•Promote cooperation with County, State, & Federal Agencies
•Develop water safety programs
•Reduce Pesticide Use
As a result of the effort to focus on their responsibilities, the MPOA Directors and Delegates, through the Lake Renewal Committee, began to evaluate the condition of the lake and to assess its potential for improvement. Significant work has been done on the following areas:
•Water Quality Assessment
Since 1994 waters samples from various locations have been submitted to certified laboratories for analysis. The results have been clear that while the Lake has high turbidity, the cause is from high levels of accumulated phosphorus and other nutrients and the resulting high population of algae.
In 1994 the MPOA initiated efforts to establish a grass-roots watershed planning effort to protect and enhance the natural resources present throughout the Nippersink Creek watershed. This has resulted in the establishment of the first McHenry County watershed plan in 1996. This plan was significantly updated through a Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 grant in 2008, which is available for viewing at www.nippersink.org. Action by the MPOA to protect Nippersink creek and Wonder Lake resulted in the installation of a “state of the art” spray irrigation wastewater treatment system which replaced a failed septic system at a County nursing home.
• Sediment Dredging
Studies conducted since that time have confirmed that since Wonder Lake was created in 1929, it has filled with 3 million cubic yards of sediment, and that in some areas, it is 4 to 6 feet thick. Fortunately, watershed planning efforts over the last 15 years have reduced the annual sediment load from Nippersink Creek from 33,000 to 12,000 cubic yards. In addition, numerous sediment samples from the lake bottom have been analyzed, and exhibit no elevated levels of regulated contaminants. In 2008, a Special Service Area (SSA) taxing district, including all properties with deed lake rights, was created to allow a dredging project to be implemented to remove over ½ million cubic yards of sediment from the most impacted areas of the lake. The dredging began June 2014.
• Fishery Assessment
Comprehensive fish surveys of Wonder Lake were completed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 1987, 1995, & 2004. The 2004 survey reflected an improvement in the overall population of largemouth and smallmouth bass. Survey results are available in MPOA office. The Wonder Lake Sportsman’s Club also conducts a fish stocking program.
• Dam Maintenance
The mechanism used to operate the sluice gate located on the west side of the Wonder Lake dam spillway had been damaged by floating debris. While the initial damage did not negatively impact on the structural integrity of the dam, the MPOA Directors voted to have the mechanism repaired, and other repair work conducted on the dam. The dam is inspected on a yearly basis by an MPOA consultant, with the reports submitted to the State of Illinois.
• Wastewater Treatment
The wastewater treatment system has been built and is functioning in the Wonder Lake community that is currently serviced by on-site septic systems, the Woods Creek subdivision, as well as the Stillwater and Meadows of West Bay developments. The current plan is bringing the system into downtown Wonder Lake for development of the retail community.
• Potable Drinking Water
The Village of Wonder Lake has purchased three private water companies servicing a total of eight subdivisions on the east and west sides of our Lake. They are now in the process of evaluating and updating the systems to meet the modern-day needs of current and future users. Details on all of the above can be found in The Wonder Lake Community Stewardship Book available in the MPOA office.