What’s the deal with the different speed limit signs around the lakes? I often see them in channels between lakes and sometimes on buoys. Do I really need to follow those “rules”? Why does it matter?
Signed, Doubtful Dan
Dear Doubtful Dan:
Boating is such a fun way to enjoy our lakes, but it comes with responsibility, too. From an environmental perspective, motorized watercrafts can have very negative impacts on the water clarity, quality of the water, and shorelines, as well as the aquatic plants, fish and other wildlife. Some of the very worst damage is caused by boats happens in shallow-water, near the shore.
Boats churn up the sediment from the bottom of the lake — especially during a busy holiday weekend. The turbidity, or how clear the water is, changes after heavy boat traffic. When the bottom of the lake is continually stirred up, nutrients that settled there get released into the water and cause algae to grow.
Additionally, this heavy boat activity also causes strong wave action, which can be very damaging to the shoreline. Sometimes, when homeowners see this damage and watch their valuable land eroding away, they quickly think the solution is a concrete seawall. It’s actually not a good solution at all! The hard barrier of a concrete seawall only serves to increase the power of the wave action and this does more harm to the lake. Instead, we recommend glacial stone seawalls or natural shorelines. They’re the healthiest choice for the lake.
So, what can be done? The best we can all do is be good stewards of the lake and reduce the size and intensity of the waves moving away from us toward the shoreline. Here’s how we can do that: