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Lake Monona ‘No Wake’ Issue Has Residents Talking As Shore Erosion Continues

June 3, 2011

Competing interests have again butted heads over the thorny issue of Lake Monona and shoreline erosion.  No one wants to trample on the rights of boaters who add energy and zest to the lake on a warm summer day, or limit the fantastic ski show team from practicing or performing.  However,  there does need to be an answer to the continuing erosion that is taking place along the shoreline.

Years ago when walking to visit a friend on the isthmus James and I could walk along the shoreline at B. B. Clarke Beach and be on solid ground that is now eroded into the lake resulting in exposed tree roots.  In addition I hear the words, and feel the concerns of those who have homes on other parts of the lake that feel the effects of erosion, some that is caused by motor boats and crafts that create ‘wakes’.

I hate to see public spaces such as the park continually come under attack from forces that could be tempered with a more concerted effort to fortify the shorelines.  I also think landowners should not have to front the full cost for erosion control if the public use of the lake contributes to the erosion.

As I said there is no easy answer, but there are lots of concerned folks. 

(Gregory) Humphrey has urged the city to install more rock barriers to protect the shore.

Installation of “rip rap” is scheduled this fall, and similar work is being done now at James Madison Park, said Lisa Coleman, a city engineer. However, projects are often delayed because of budget problems, objections from neighbors who don’t like the rocks, and the time it takes to obtain permits, she said.

Jerry Wesner, a town of Burke resident who drives boats for the Mad-City Ski Team, says he’s been frustrated when no-wake orders have shut down club shows and practices, but he sympathizes with anyone who has seen their shoreline wash away.

“I’m sure there’s bad taste in some people’s mouths when the ski team is out there running the wake,” Wesner said, although he points out that much of the shore where the team operates around Law Park is reinforced with rock. “I just don’t know what the happy level is. I just know the water level changes drastically based on the rain that we get.”

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