As we reported recently in the VCLRA report on Wake Boats in our winter newsletter (pages 6-7), the growing popularity of wake boats presents challenges on state lakes. On the one hand, water sports and recreational boating generates tourist dollars. On the other hand, there is the potential for enhanced shoreline erosion due to their energetic waves. The enhanced wakes can also endanger other swimmers and boaters, as well as disturb water fowl nesting sites on the water’s edge. Because wake boats are weighted in the rear so that the propwash has a downward angle, they may stir up bottom sediments, uproot aquatic plants, disturb fish habitat and potentially releasing toxins that have settled to the bottom.
The public has an opportunity to influence state regulations through the 2022 Spring Hearing online input sponsored by The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC), which is a liaison between the citizens of Wisconsin, the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Its purpose is to provide an avenue for public input and exchange concerning conservation issues in Wisconsin. Pending approval by the Wisconsin Legislature, what started as a Citizen Resolution can become a Wisconsin rule/law. To that end, WCC has submitted several proposed Citizen Resolution questions for Vilas County and Dane county. If these resolution questions pass the first step, they will follow the process toward a hazardous wake resolution at the state level. If successful, current State boating regulations and statutes could be changed to regulate wake boats.
How can I find the online input option?
The link will be placed on the DNR’s Spring Hearing webpage and can be found at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov. Type in “Spring Hearings” in the search box.
How do I provide input using the online option?
The online form is being run through “Survey Monkey”. Once you sign in, simply read and follow the directions.
When can I provide my online input?
The link will go live on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT and will remain open for three days (until 7:00 PM CDT on Thursday, April 14). Each person can provide input once for each of the survey questions.
Do I have to provide input on all the questions?
No, just answer “NO OPINION” on questions you do not want to answer.
For additional information:
The 2022 Spring Hearing Online Input FAQ is here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/sites/default/files/topic/About/WCC/2022/SpringHearing/2022_Spring_Hearing_Online_Input_FAQ_V4.pdf
The VCLRA report on Wake Boats in the 2021-22 winter newsletter (posted on https://vclra.org/newsletter-archive/) also provides useful references on experiences with wake boats in several states, as well as research on lake impacts due to enhanced wakes.