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Restricting Motorboat Use on Lulu Lake

The Nature Conservancy is in favor of an ordinance to restrict the use of motorboats on Lulu Lake, which has been designated by the state as an Outstanding Resource Water and by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association as one of the state’s most outstanding wetlands.

Lulu Lake is a Special Place
Surrounding the lake and along the Mukwonago River are various types of wetlands including fens, bogs and sedge meadows. On the higher ground, you will find prairie remnants and oak openings.

These habitats are home to many native plants, birds and other wildlife species, some of which are found in few other places in the state. Of the 150 fish species native to Wisconsin, 59 can be found in Lulu Lake and the Mukwonago River, including several rare and uncommon fish.

The preserve is a popular place for visitors who come to hike the trails, canoe and kayak, watch birds and wildlife, and enjoy its quiet beauty.

We are concerned that the diversity, beauty and peace of this special place, which we have worked with local communities and partners to protect since 1983, could disappear because of overuse and abuse.

Increased Motorboat Use Threatens the Lake and Public Safety
Heavy boat traffic on Lulu Lake is increasing. Motorboats reach Lulu Lake via a channel of the Mukwonago River, which has been unnaturally widened to accommodate large boats. The channel connects Lulu Lake to Eagle Spring Lake, where there is a public boat launch.

We are concerned about the impacts of increasing motorboat traffic on Lulu Lake for several reasons:

  • Wakes from motorboats damage aquatic vegetation and stir up sediment, reducing fish habitat and posing risks to swimmers, canoers, kayakers and other lake users.
  • Motorboats coming from Eagle Spring Lake continually bring Eurasian water-milfoil, an aggressive invasive species, to Lulu Lake despite signs along the channel between the lakes that ask boaters to reverse their motors to drop off the milfoil. We have spent close to $50,000 and hundreds of staff and volunteer hours removing this invasive species from Lulu Lake since 2009.
  • In 2013, an Asian clam was discovered in Lulu Lake. This species, which is new to the lake, has been associated with algae blooms on other lakes. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources believes that this Asian clam was brought into Lulu Lake by a boat from Eagle Spring Lake.
  • Rare and uncommon plants on the shoreline at Lulu Lake Preserve are being trampled by increased foot traffic from boaters coming ashore to use the preserve as a restroom.
  • Near shore vegetation is also being destroyed as boats pull up to the shoreline in large numbers and people congregate in these shallow areas, which are critical habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Restricting Motorboat Use Will Help Protect Lulu Lake and Public Safety
The Nature Conservancy does not seek to prohibit all boat use on Lulu Lake. We are in favor of an ordinance that would restrict the use of gas-powered motorboats on the lake. Battery−powered electric motors at a slow−no−wake speed would still be allowed.

These types of ordinances are provided under state law and have been used to protect dozens of lakes in state parks, forests and riverways and in other important natural areas in Wisconsin.

Such an ordinance will help protect the health of Lulu Lake, which is currently being degraded by excessive motorboat traffic. It will also increase enjoyment of the lake by canoers, kayakers, swimmers and other visitors while reducing the threat to public safety and ensuring that everyone can continue to enjoy this irreplaceable natural resource in one of the most populated corners of Wisconsin.

Media inquiries should be directed to Chris Anderson at 612-845-2744.

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