TWF Position Against Oakwood Group Pier Permit on Lake Wawasee

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 3:07pm

Subject:  Appeal of PL-21782 Group Pier Permit at Oakwood Inn

The Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation (TWF) works to protect and improve water quality in our local lakes and streams.  The TWF actively participated in the development of the IDNR’s group pier rules in 2004.  In addition, we initiated the process that led to the creation of the Kosciusko County funneling ordinance in 2006.  These laws were put in place to protect our natural resources for the citizens of Indiana. We believe that implementation of this project as proposed by Buckingham Companies would undermine these limits and laws and create a precedent for future damaging projects on other Indiana lakes.
 
Our concern with the proposed group piers for the Oakwood Inn is one of water quality.  If the ecology of our lakes is diminished or permanently affected in a negative way because of environmentally damaging projects, such as extensive group piers and dredging in sensitive areas, we all lose an irreplaceable resource. 
 
There are many reasons why we need to protect Conklin Bay, including that it was designated by the IDNR as the first Eco-zone in the state, protecting the wetland fringe and water quality. 
 
The number of boats (170 + as proposed) using the piers in a small concentrated area of Conklin Bay will also heavily impact the shallow bottom sediments.  Boat disturbance of these sediments increases turbidity (cloudiness) of the water and releases phosphorus that provides the nutrient source for algae growth.
 
In addition, we are concerned about fuel loading from all of these boats.  Gasoline tank overflows, oily bilge water discharge, and engine exhaust emissions into the pier area water could result in a deterioration of water quality in the Oakwood area and beyond.  Poor water quality would negatively impact the simplest form of lake pleasures:  aesthetics, local swimming and beach use. 
 
We urge your protection of the water quality in Lake Wawasee for today and future generations by repealing the IDNR approval of the Oakwood Inn group pier permit.
 
Respectfully,
Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation
Board of Directors