County close to declaring 500 foot slow-no-wake zone on Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa
Runoff from record rainfall during the month of May, and recent rains have raised the lakes near levels at which County Executive Falk, Sheriff Gary Hamblin, and County Board Chair Kevin Kesterson will issue a 500 foot slow-no-wake zone on Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa.
The levels of those lakes are still more than a foot above the summer maximum level set by DNR, and the National Weather Service predicts rain and thunderstorms through next Wednesday, which may cause lake levels to rise. In anticipation of the possible threat to property that may occur during the weekend with more rain, Falk, Hamblin, and Kesterson have decided that the County will declare an emergency slow-no-wake zone extending 500 feet from the shorelines of all four
of Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa, if any one
of the four lakes reaches the designated elevation below:
Mendota: elevation 852
Monona: elevation 847
Waubesa: elevation 846.5
Kegonsa: elevation 845
Slow-no-wake speed means that a boat must move as slowly as possible while still maintaining steerage control, and produce no wake. Violators may be subject to citation and fine by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.
A slow no wake zone remains in place for the Squaw Bay area, including Belle Isle, on Lake Monona. The no wake zone extends from the Winnequah Boat Landing south to the opposite shore, and slow no wake buoys are installed to clearly mark the area. The order will remain in effect until it is no longer deemed necessary to control erosion.
There is normally a 200 foot slow-no-wake zone on Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa, and Falk urged boaters to observe this. “We will notify the public right away if there is a change to our normal 200 foot rule over the weekend, but in the meantime, I encourage boaters to observe the rules and protect the shorelines from erosion that is exacerbated by boat wakes.”
Violators may be subject to citation and fine by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement personnel will be on the water this weekend. People who wish to report violations of the slow no wake order should call Sheriff’s dispatch at 255-2345.
“County staff who manage the locks and dams continue to do everything possible to move water quickly out of the Yahara Lakes, coordinating closely with municipalities like Monona that are working hard to protect their residents from flood damage,” said Falk.
Falk also reminded property owners who have experienced damage from the high water to report information on damages not covered by insurance to their local municipality.
Lake level information is updated daily on the new Dane County Water Resources page, accessible from the Dane County home page (www.countyofdane.com/waters/
), that lets users view information on lake levels, water quality, boating and other recreation information. Historic lake level information is also available.
The Dane County Department of Emergency Management issued the above updated safety and health precautions for periods of heavy precipitation and flooding.