eyed to thwart zebra mussels
By Bill Novak and Aaron Nathans
The Capital Times
Boaters would have to clean their hulls to prevent zebra
mussels from migrating or face fines under a new ordinance
being proposed for Dane County's waterways.
Keeping the rapidly spreading zebra mussel out of our
lakes is a high priority, said County Executive Kathleen
"We need to try to prevent zebra mussels from getting
a foothold in our beautiful lakes," Falk said. "They
can cluster together to severely impact water intake facilities,
fishing and boating, beaches and the natural balance of
The ordinance proposed by the commission would prohibit
placing watercraft, equipment or trailers in the waters
of Dane County if there were reason to believe that zebra
mussels were attached.
Boaters would be required to remove aquatic plants and
animals from boats and equipment before launching or leaving,
before draining lake or river water on land, and before
properly disposing of live bait.
First time violators could be fined $50 or could be subject
to a $100 fine for repeat offenses.
Don Hammes, a Middleton fisherman, said this morning
that local anglers would probably support the proposed
"The invasion of zebra mussels into the lake system
would not be a very good thing to happen, because the
population of those zebra mussels can expand quite rapidly,"
"I think the fishermen and fisherwomen are more
alert to the need to combat this than perhaps people that
just have a pleasure boat, a large speedboat," he
added. "Very often those people travel from Lake
Geneva to Lake Michigan to Lake Mendota, and somewhere
along the way, pick up some weeds that are infected with
In 2001 and 2002, individual zebra mussels were found
in Lake Monona but there are no established populations
of zebra mussels in the state yet.
The Lakes and Watershed Commission is also considering
a shoreland zoning change to make erosion control provisions
consistent with the countywide erosion control requirement
found in the existing ordinance.
"It's important for landowners and developers to
have predictable, consistent procedures and standards
to follow when doing work near our important waters,"
said Sue Jones, lakes and watershed management coordinator.
Comments about the new shoreland zoning change will be
taken at the same public hearing set for the zebra mussel
Background information and the text of the draft ordinances
is available on the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission
Web site at www.countyofdane.com/commissions/lakes/