Bills would allow emergency no-wake zones amid high waters

Rising Waters

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Record-high water levels on the Great Lakes have caused untold damage around Michigan — to private property, public parks and roads.

Now, the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee is trying to deal with another potential problem: setting speed limits for boats to keep them from exacerbating damage.

One set of bills would give local authorities the ability to create no-wake zones for a two-week period. Normally, that would require approval from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Another bill would grant a six-month no-wake zone.

“What we’ve done with this particular bill is tried to create sort of an interim time solution for local municipalities to deal with water control zones, no-wake zones,” Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, explained.

He also introduced legislation that would cut down the amount of time it takes to enact a no-wake zones in the short term. Going through the normal channels at the DNR can take months or even years. Lilly still wants the DNR’s OK, but wants to streamline the process.

“My particular piece of legislation still involves the DNR,” Lilly said. “It really just truncates the process. So there’s still quite a bit of DNR input, it’s just that the community, if they can come to the DNR with sort of that package already assembled and all put together, the DNR will adjudicate that quicker.”

Though the bills are just now working their way through committee, there is some optimism that quick action could be taken to put the new regulations in place before the next boating season.

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Rising Waters

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