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Douglas County boaters beware: Temporary no-wake zones set on 17 lakes

Water levels on many lakes are higher than in 2019 when no-wake zones were put in.

EP County Government 2
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DOUGLAS COUNTY — Boaters take note: Temporary no-wake zones are being placed on several lakes in Douglas County due to very high water.

At the Wednesday, June 15, Douglas County Board meeting, commissioners enacted temporary special controls by amending the Water Surface Use Ordinance as it relates to the following 17 lakes – Brophy, Burgen, Carlos, Cowdry, Darling, Geneva, Ida, Jessie, Latoka, LeHomme Dieu, Louise, Maple, Miltona, North Union, Stony, Taylor and Victoria.

The temporary special control states that “no person may operate a watercraft at any time less than 300 feet lakeward of the shortline exceeding slow-no wake speeds.”

The amendment takes effect on June 15 and will run through July 15 or until high water levels have subsided and remain at or below one-quarter (.25) feet below the Ordinary Highwater Mark.

The Ordinary Highwater Mark will be measured at the official Minnesota Department of Natural Resources gauge on each named lake for a period of three or more consecutive days.

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Dave Rush

Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush spoke to commissioners about the high water levels, noting that the last time temporary no-wake zones were put on Douglas County lakes was in 2019.

Water levels this year are high, Rush said, which is why the temporary special controls need to be put in place. He said the slow-no wake zones are for areas within 300-feet of the lakeshore.

“Water levels on most lakes are a lot higher than they were in 2019,” Rush said.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will be putting signs out notifying boaters of the temporary change in the ordinance. Violators will be charged with a petty misdemeanor.

Roundabout possibly not on hold

A roundabout that was scheduled to be built at the intersection of County Road 82 and County Road 45 at the entrance to the Alexandria YMCA (Karl Drive) may still start this summer.

Douglas County Commissioners approved going back out for bids for the project.

At the May 17 board meeting, commissioners rejected bids because they came in way over the engineer’s estimate. The estimate was around $2 million for the project, while the lowest bid was at $3.45 million – 171.49% over the proposed amount. The high bid came in at $3.87 million, which was 192.5% over the engineer’s estimate.

The project was put on hold until now.

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Tim Erickson

Douglas County Public Works Director Tim Erickson said the second round of bids have a different completion date and will have an alternate option for materials, which will hopefully lower the bids.

The deadline for the project will depend on when the contractors schedule their work, he said. The ultimate deadline is November 2023, but if they can get the project scheduled for this year, it would be great, he said.

As for the materials, the county will choose based on the bid amounts.

Erickson said the project could start yet this year, but that contractors will need to finish anything they start. He also noted that he is working with the state of Minnesota on two roundabout projects the state is in charge of at the Interstate 94 interchange on Highway 27, one of which is at the other end of County Road 45.

His hope is that the roundabout on County Road 45 at the intersection with County Road 82 will still be able to be completed yet this year, but noted that he realizes it may have to wait until next year.

In other action

The commissioners approved the following other items:

  • Resolution for Douglas County Emergency Management to accept a $1,000 gift card from Target to be used to benefit those impacted by the storms in May.
  • Final plat of BobMike Meadow, a four-lot plat on Pocket Lake in Holmes City Township.
  • Final plat of Henry Fuhrman Meadow Addition, a one-lot plat in Miltona Township.
  • Conditional use permit to Nathan Lund to allow a new 140 animal unit feedlot in Moe Township.
  • Conditional use application for Alexandria Pro Fab Company Inc, to allow commercial and light industrial uses on its lot in Carlos Township. The commercial and light industrial uses will be limited to machining, finishing and assembly of parts.
Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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