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Ordinance ups water height for Rock River no-wake rule

By Margo Spann, mspann@wisctv.com
Published On: Jun 28 2013 08:21:07 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 29 2013 12:01:02 PM CDT

Channel3000.com

BELOIT, Wis. -

Spending warm summer days coasting the Rock River and Lake Koshkonong is a tradition for Raymond Bongiorno's family.

Soon, a new no-wake ordinance could up the measurement of high water before a slow-moving order would be enforced, which boaters like Bongiorno said would be good news.

Bongiorno explained that no-wake orders put a damper on being on the water. 

"Anybody that's ever owned a boat knows that when you're traveling really slow, you kind of just start baking," Bongiorno said. "The only thing you can do in a no-wake zone is stay out of the river."

One popular destination for boaters is Harbor Recreation. Sales manager Mark Richardson said slow no wake ordinances have a big impact on businesses on the water. 

"It does slow down business from the traffic on the water, which slows up the the normal business that you would have in a normal summer," Richardson said.

Thursday night, the Rock County board changed the ordinance that split the river into three parts with varying levels -- 8 feet from Indianford Dam to Newville, 6.5 feet from Indianford Dam to Beloit Rock Road, and 8.5 feet from the Beloit-Rock Townline Road to the state line. 

Since most of the boating activity happens in the northern and southern portions of the river, water levels in those areas will have to be significantly higher before a slow no wake is in effect.

According to the Rock County Sheriff's Office, the ordinance is supposed to be a happy medium to accommodate boaters in the busiest areas.

"They found if they could reach higher levels in those two areas it would be more accommodating to boaters and recreationists that wish to use the Rock River, while at least maintaining the safety and limiting the amount of soil erosion on the banks." said Capt. Jude Maurer.

Bongiorno said he's looking forward to more vacations on the water as long as the changes aren't too strict.

"If they made it so it was permanently no-wake, people would just stay out of the river," Bongiorno said. 

It is unclear when the ordinance takes effect, but Maurer said it could be as early as July 3.

In Dane County, slow no wake orders expanded; 4 lakes included in order

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