In recent years, the Eau Claire Lakes Area has experienced powerful storms that produced a lot of rain in short periods of time. As a result, our lake levels have risen quickly before receding slowly. High water levels make our shorelines more vulnerable to erosion, either from normal wave action or manmade turbulence. Erosion in turn can negatively impact shoreline habitats and overall lake water quality.
While there isn’t much we can do to prevent the storms, our board of directors is looking at ways we can work cooperatively with others to lessen the damage during times of high water levels. Members have told us this is of great concern to them. We are thinking creatively about ways we can educate the public about high water events and steps they can take to minimize damage. Andy Teal (Bayfield County) presented at our 2020 annual meeting on ways landowners can mitigate damage on their shorelines. In fall 2020 we submitted a WDNR Healthy Lakes & Rivers grant application to help landowners with projects to help protect shorelines. Currently, we are talking with town supervisors about the possibility of implementing an educational approach for encouraging boaters to voluntarily restrict their speeds to slow no wake during periods of high water. While many municipalities in Wisconsin have adopted “emergency slow no wake” ordinances, we hope area businesses, town boards, residents and visitors will be receptive to working together voluntarily to protect our lakes.