Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and leads the nation in boats per capita.
As watercraft operators, we have a responsibility to keep everyone safe while boating or using other watercraft and also protect the environment and stop the spread of invasive species.
In the Briggs Chain of Lakes, the Minnesota DNR and Sherburne County have jurisdiction over the surface use of public waters. The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Water Patrol division and Minnesota DNR’s Conservation Officers together help enforce state and local laws.
Own Your Wake
Wakes present dangers to lake users and can damage property. Therefore, it is especially important that boaters be aware of their wakes and how it impacts the shorelines, property, and other people.
The Briggs Lakes Chain uses boat inspections organized and paid for by the Sherburne SWCD to contract with Water Guards, LLC to inspect boats arriving and leaving public landings for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). However, the BLCA and TLID has paid for additional inspection hours than the allotment given to us by the SWCD.
The Link between Watercraft and Water Quality
Obey the law concerning no wake within 150 feet of docks or shore to keep the water quality healthy and prevent shoreline damage.
The main problem is that motors churn up the lake bottom in shallow areas. This action stirs up the lake sediment, re-suspending nutrients (phosphorus) that are at the lake’s bottom. When these nutrients reach the surface of the water where the algae are, they can feed algae and cause and algal bloom. This stirring can also decrease the water clarity because of additional particles suspended in the water column. The wash of sediment washes up on shore in the form of mud and plant debris on the neighbors of the active boaters causing them to have huge messes to clean up that others created which if not done sometimes leads to fish kills.
Source: Sagerman, J., Hansen, J.P. & Wikström, S.A. Effects of boat traffic and mooring infrastructure on aquatic vegetation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ambio 49, 517–530 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01215-9
©Josefin Sagerman, Joakim P. Hansen, Sofia A. Wikström
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. Illustration of mechanisms by which recreational boating activities affect submerged aquatic vegetation, separated into mechanisms generated by boats (left hand side) and mooring facilities (right hand side). Graphics: J. Lokrantz/Azote