Lake Lure Boat Management Barbara Wiggins, CLM WES, Asheville, NC and Ken Wagner, Ph.D., CLMENSR, Willington, CT
Today’s Agenda • Introductions • Historical Overview of Lake Use & Management • Highlight Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Highlight Options for Managing Boat Impact • Review Lake Lure Boating Survey Results • Next Steps • Conclusion • Question & Comments
Objectives Our purpose for today’s forum is to help you: • Better understand the history and current status of boating management in Lake Lure • Appreciate why we must improve our boating management procedures to address our continued growth…Our access to and enjoyment of the lake, as well as value of investments, are all at risk without action. • Continue public dialogue on approaches to boating management “Lake Lure is held in trust by the Town of Lake Lure for the benefit of the citizens of Lake Lure".
Motorized Lake Use Exceeds Lake’s Safe Capacity Limits – Non Resident Impact Motorized Permit Rates Increased – Resident / Non-Resident Split Created Commercial Use of Lake Exceeds Lake’s Safe Capacity Limits Developed lake Management Plan – 97-99 2001 Lake Survey Performed– All Property Owners Boat Permit Rates Increased Town’s Lake Ownership & Reg. Authority Questioned Commercial Use of Lake Reaches High Impact Levels Town Lake Ownership Confirmed – The Law of Lake Lure Boat Permit Rates Increased for 2005 Season Lake Commercial Impact Estimating Model Dev. Lake Commercial Licensing – Capping max to 30% Lake Consultants Sought – Advice non-commercial Lake Consultants Hired Lake Workshop Held TODAY - Historical Overview - Lake Usage & Management 1990’s 2001 2003 2004 2005 2002 2006 1992
Lake Usage & Management- Managing Commercial Boating - • As a result of analysis done in 2000/2001, the Marine Commission established a cap on commercial usage at 30% of available lake capacity (measured in space and time…not # of boats). This was based on historical commercial usage patterns. • The 30% of lake capacity is carefully managed and allocated to applicants through an annual analysis. Operators are granted lake commercial licenses based on the type of boating activity, usage pattern and seniority. When the capacity is full, additional applicants are denied. • Since 2000/2001, the demand for commercial usage has grown and exceeded the capacity, requiring the management plan to adapt. For example, use by out-of-area youth camps was curtailed, in part to make room for the expansion of local boats associated with rental homes.
Lake Usage & Management- Valuing Commercial Boating - From a boating management perspective, commercial operations on Lake Lure bring several benefits… • Maximizes use and enjoyment of the lake…with fewer boats (e.g., tours, ski schools, fishing guides) • Increases safety by reducing the number of visiting operators who may be inexperienced or unaware of lake regulations • Commercial boat operators are under more stringent standards and requirements than residents or visitors…and held accountable. If needed, it is easier to alter their boating behavior than it is for the general boating population. • Lake management consultants are consistent in their recommendation that commercial operations are a critical tool in managing increased demand for time on the lake, even for residents (e.g., shared & managed boat fleets)
Lake Usage & Management- Safe Boating Capacity - • The lake has a finite capacity for boating…measured in acres over a period of time. • Boats engaging in different activities "consume" acres of the lake when in use. How much they consume depends on the activity…slow-moving pleasure cruises require less of the lake than high-speed towing activities. • For a given mix of activities, there exists a threshold where the number of boats on the lake still have enough room to safely operate. The residents and managers of a lake need to determine where this threshold exists, based on tolerance levels for risk, crowds and access. • Our challenge is to manage the boating activity in the least invasive way…but in a way that ensures that that we don't exceed the safety threshold very often (or by very much).
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • The population of potential lake users is increasing • Crowding occurs now on some days • The risk of boating accidents and other user conflicts is increasing • Boat impacts on the lake are increasing • The Town bears much liability in relation to the lake
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Lake Lure has been “discovered” • Remaining shoreline development • Off – lake lots
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Increase in summer weekend and holiday use clearly perceived • Increases at other times less apparent
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Even split on whether capacity has been exceeded • Majority believes safety should be improved • 1% feel unsafe in off-season, 7% during peak season weekdays, and 22% during peak season weekends and holidays
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Boat impacts on the lake can include: • Input of gas and other contaminants – high flushing at Lake Lure, limited applicability • Stirring up of bottom sediments – steep sides and substantial depth in most area, limited impact • Introduction of nuisance species– always a threat, but physical features of Lake Lure limit problems • Noise – tends to correlate with increased motorboat activity, not perceived as an issue yet • Wave induced shoreline impacts – problems with erosion and safety, complicated by historic approach to shoreline management
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Invasive species often arrive on boats • Plants of major concern include hydrilla and milfoils • The steep sides and substantial depth limit impacts
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • Noise is not generally perceived to have increased • Any increase is not enough to be considered a problem • Many of those citing noise as an issue noted non-boating sources
Boating Issues at Lake Lure • The Town owns the lake • The Town is ultimately responsible for what happens on the lake • We live in a litigious society • Note that taking measures to reduce risk will not prevent all problems, but represent a responsible approach
So How Do We Manage Boating? • Strategic air strikes early in the boating season? • Stocking of dangerous wildlife? • Aquatic demolition derbies?
Managing Boating Impact • Lake alteration • Education and Training • Improved Equipment • Equipment or Use Bans • Space Management • Time Management • Enforcement
Managing Boat Impact- Lake Alteration - • Dredging to maintain depth • Armoring or vegetating shorelines • Intent is to absorb and dissipate energy • Problem with Lake Lure seawalls
Managing Boat Impact- Education & Training - • Education of all lake users • Appropriate training for operators
Managing Boat Impact- Improved Equipment - • Engines with cleaner emissions • Low noise engines • Altered hull draft or hydrodynamics • Safety gear • Boat wash stations • NONE OF THESE APPEARS ESSENTIAL BEYOND CURRENT REQUIREMENTS AT LAKE LURE
Managing Boat Impact- Equipment / Use Bans - • Bans on engine or watercraft types • User age or training restrictions • Speed limits • No wake rules • Sensitive area prohibitions • Access regulation
Managing Boat Impact- Space Management – • Parking limits • Shoreline buffers • Use zoning • Density regulation (10-20 boatable acres/boat)
Managing Boat Impact- Time Management - • Hours of operation for motorized uses • Odd-even day use alternation • Time slots for designated uses
Managing Boat Impact- Enforcement - No management system is likely to succeed without some level of enforcement Sometimes all that is needed is enforcement of existing rules and some urging of lake users to be cognizant and respectful of others
Next Steps: • Discuss survey results and implications • Perform boat use assessment to get actual density values and distribution over time (each day, weekdays vs. weekends, peak season) • Build consensus on best plan of action
Conclusion Before going into Question & Comments, we would like you to consider the following questions… • Have we succeeded in enhancing your understanding of the need for improvements to our boating management strategy in Lake Lure? • Have we succeeded in enhancing your understanding of the various methods of managing increasing boating demand against a finite capacity? • Continue to think about the following, and provide us feedback…When demand exceeds capacity, would you rather see limits on: • The available boats in the water (slips) • When specific boats may use the lake • Limits that take effect only when the safe threshold has been reached