DNR web page lists current boating restrictions – Kokomo Perspective: Kp

Record or near-record rainfall this summer has led the Department of Natural Resources to restrict or close some public freshwater lakes in northern Indiana to motorboat traffic.The DNR has created a web page (dnr.IN.gov/boatingadvisories) to keep the boating public and lakefront property owners informed of current restrictions or closures.The DNR Law Enforcement Division uses an established policy to guide recommended restrictions based on conditions at a given lake.After a condition or hazard is reported to the DNR, an Indiana Conservation Officer with DNR Law Enforcement investigates and recommends a course of action. The recommendation is reviewed by supervisors and forwarded to the DNR director for final approval. Indiana Administrative Code (312 IAC 5-12) authorizes the DNR director to modify or close public waters to watercraft use through a temporary order.Depending on the reported conditions, the DNR director can do one of the following:1. Restrict watercraft to daytime operationConditions: Large amounts of floating debris and or submerged objects that pose a significant impact to boating safety and/or navigation during night-time operation.2. Limit watercraft operations to idle speedConditions: Surface water will likely be inside dwelling structures as a result of wake.3. Prohibit motorboat operationsConditions: Surface water is inside dwelling structures and motorboat operation, regardless of speed, would cause continued property damage.4. Close lakes to watercraft operationsConditions: Potential dam failure or other catastrophic incident.5. Any other restrictionsConditions: Unusual conditions or hazards not covered in steps 1, 2, 3 and 4.Once a temporary order is in place, conservation officers continue to monitor the water levels. In some instances, the presence of U.S. Geological Service water gages allows them to remotely check water levels on the Internet. In other instances, they monitor levels with in-person visits, often on a daily basis.They also check weather forecasts to avoid lifting restrictions too soon.Although the DNR has a regulatory role in the safety of many lake outlet structures, many are not owned by the DNR.Such structures often don’t have operable features, so water levels in most natural lakes are controlled by the natural cycle of rainfall, evaporation, wetland storage, and runoff.In addition, because lake outlet structures may pose potential safety risks even in normal conditions, they should be avoided, especially during floods and times of high water.

Source: DNR web page lists current boating restrictions – Kokomo Perspective: Kp

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