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Slow-no-wake on area lakes

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More: Town taking precautions with Delavan Lake
More: Geneva Lake cruises continue, liesurely

Mike Heine/The Week
The Janesville Gazette reporter Chris Schultz contributed to this story.

(Published Aug. 23, 2007, 1:11 p.m.)


Water gushed out of Geneva Lake at a rate of 2,100 gallons per second, spilling into the already swollen White River Thursday. That's 7.5 million gallons per day, said the lake's top law enforcement official.

Even that wasn't enough to open the lake back up for its many activities, said Tom Hausner, manager of the Geneva Lake Law Enforcement Agency.

The city of Lake Geneva and Town of Linn enacted emergency slow-no-wake rules Wednesday for its portions of the approximately 5,200-acre lake. Fontana was expected to follow suit Thursday night, after this edition's deadline, and Williams Bay was considering similar action, Hausner said.

Violators are subject to fines of about $70 for violations. "Slow, no wake" notices are being posted at all ramps on the lake.

"I don't know how people are going to react," Hausner said. "I've gotten calls from people on both sides-people saying we've got to do something and other people who said they're upset."

Linn Township closed its ramps. Ramps in Lake Geneva, Williams Bay and Fontana remained open Thursday morning.

The town of Delavan closed Community Park and effectively shut down the public boat launch. It also closed a ramp on Bluegill Road.

Most of the private launches have also closed, Town Chairman Wayne Polzin said.

Delavan Lake and Whitewater Lake also have emergency slow-no-wake rules in effect until further notice. Nobody is sure when they will be lifted.

The Lauderdale Lakes also instituted slow-no-wake rules last week and closed their public boat launches.

Lakes in the area are nearing their brims and more rain is in the forecast.

Pieces of piers have floated away on Delavan Lake and so have some of the boats and jet skis attached to them, said Mary Knipper, former president of the Delavan Lake Improvement Association.

Delavan Lake was about 17 inches above normal Thursday morning, said Kevin MacKinnon, Delavan Lake Sanitary District administrator. He expect it to continue rising as water trickles in from the watershed.

The 2,100-acre lake has a 13-to-1 watershed ratio, meaning runoff from about 27,000 acres surrounding the lake pours into it. The lake was taking in 3,750 gallons per second Thursday and emptying at a rate of 1,700 gallons per second, MacKinnon said.

Geneva Lake is about 11 inches above normal, said Greg Holden, a town of Linn supervisor. The lake has a 2-to-1 ratio so runoff from about 10,000 acres pour into it.

Water spilling out of Geneva Lake has flooded Donian Park, through which the White River flows on its way out of the city. The river is the lake's outlet.

Knipper said she hopes the weekend boaters and anglers planning to come to the area, who mainly come from Chicago and northern Illinois, are reading newspapers or watching the news.

"Hopefully they're aware of what we're experiencing and might not want to come," Knipper said. If they do, hopefully they're people that will take it with a good spirit by accepting that they can't launch on that day.

"We hope people have read and watched their news and recognize that this is a very unique situation. We're asking everyone to be patient and show concerns for water quality and safety."

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Anyone with questions about the Geneva Lake speed limit should call the Geneva Lake Law Enforcement Agency, (262) 245-9824, or the Water Safety Patrol, (262) 245-6577.

Questions about Delavan Lake's restrictions can be directed to the Town of Delavan Police Department, (262) 728-8787.

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