Dane County boaters advised to use caution amid low lake levels

(City of Madison)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As summer begins in Wisconsin, the Land & Water Resources Department is preparing by monitoring water levels, weather, aquatic plants and more in the Yahara Chain of Lakes.

LWRD outlined ways residents can responsibly enjoy the lakes this summer and help keep waterways clean and healthy.

Current lake levels are near the summer minimum and are lower than normal for this time of year, but are within Wisconsin DNR water level orders, the department promised. Dry weather and low amounts of snow melt are the cause of the low levels, they explained.

All dams on the Yahara Chain, including Tenney, Babcock, and LaFollette, are closed as much as possible to support aquatic life in the Yahara River, LWRD said. Water levels are expected to stay low without any significant rainfall, which is not likely in the coming weeks. Buoys are also now in place to guide boaters and keep all river users safe.

Tenney Lock Memorial Day hours will be extended, LWRD said. The extended schedule is as follows:

Friday 5/26 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Saturday 5/27 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Sunday 5/28 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Monday 5/29 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

The Babcock and LaFollette locks remain closed.

To keep up with aquatic plants, harvesters are traveling the lakes, cutting invasive species to make waterways more accessible.

The Dane County pier pickup program has also begun. A shoreline barge crew will pick up only aquatic trash and debris from lake residents’ piers throughout the summer, LWRD explained. Aquatic plants must be placed on the pier by 7 a.m. Monday on pick up week. The schedule for pick up can be found online.

If using the lakes this summer, remember to watch for invasive species in equipment or boats.

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