A Thousand Words … 

According to Wikipedia, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen “is widely regarded as the foremost playwright of the nineteenth century.” He also coined the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” So, you may ask, why is RWVL talking about Ibsen in this newsletter? Well, we aren’t, at least not directly. But we are talking about how much more you can often learn from a photograph — or better still, a video — than from a written description.

This Newsletter features a 6.5-minute video that vividly demonstrates several of the most significant negative impacts of wake boats on Big Cedar Lake in Wisconsin. The video illustrates that as the use and popularity of wake boats on this lake increased from 2014 to 2023, so too did the problems affecting the shore and near-shore environment, the lake’s underwater ecosystems, and the enjoyment of the vast majority of traditional water sport users. Perhaps the most graphic illustration of these devastating impacts is seen underwater in the shallow lake beds, where the downward prop wash of wake boats has essentially obliterated plant life and upset the ecosystem on which it and other aquatic species depend. 

The video also highlights the potential impacts of wake boat ballast tanks on the lake-to-lake spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Prior to engaging in wake sport activities, a wake boat’s ballast tanks are filled with several thousand pounds of lake water. Upon exiting the lake, these tanks are drained, but several gallons of water remain. At the next lake, the tanks are again filled and emptied. If AIS had been present in the water from the previous lake, the second lake may become contaminated. By Vermont statute, it is illegal to transport AIS from one lake to another. While the Home Lake rule provision in the state’s current draft regulation partially addresses this problem, until our petition was submitted the ANR had turned a blind eye to the potential lake-to-lake transport of AIS by wake boats for as long as these boats have operated in Vermont’s waters. 

Last Wilderness Alliance Video: “Wake Surfing – A Threat to Our Lakes

We hope you will find this video enlightening. Please keep this video in mind as you follow the ANR wake boat petition process. In doing so, consider how the ANR/DEC’s weak 500-foot distance from shore for wake boat operation compares with our RWVL recommended strong rule, with its 1,000-foot minimum distance. 

We will use future Newsletters to share other videos we feel are particularly informative. 

RWVL will only use the information you send us here to send you news about Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes. We never share this information with anyone else. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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