Reitz Lake

Reitz Lake pictured during high waters in 2019.

The Carver County Board of Commissioners approved a draft no-wake ordinance and opened it for a 45-day public comment period.

The proposed no-wake ordinance impacts these lakes: Waconia, Bavaria, Reitz and Piersons. Residents can offer public comment at Comments due by Dec. 6.

The summers of 2014 and 2019 witnessed high rainfall amounts and a corresponding rise in county lake levels. The county established temporary no-wake ordinances for Lake Waconia, Reitz Lake and Lake Bavaria to prevent property damage, ensure public safety, and protect the lake and shoreline health, according to a Carver County press release.

The term “no wake” means that watercraft must move at the slowest possible speed necessary to maintain steerage, but in no case greater than 5 mph.

The county proposes an automatic no-wake ordinance for these lakes once water levels reach a designated high-water elevation for three consecutive days. These high-water elevations are based either on the lakes’ ordinary high-water level, set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, or on the FEMA 100-year flood elevation.

Although not included in the temporary 2014 and 2019 ordinance, the county included Piersons Lake in the permanent ordinance because it lacks protection under another ordinance. Other county lakes not included in the ordinance language receive management by a city ordinance, have lower use, or no past requests exist, the release stated. The no-wake ordinance ends once a lake’s water elevation drops 0.1 ft below high-water levels for three consecutive days.

“No-wake ordinances can create frustration due to the slow speed requirement, but they help protect the shoreline areas vital to a healthy lake. Intact and natural shoreline can hold their own against high water levels, waves and winter ice. But many of our lakes lack natural shorelines. They consist of grass to the water’s edge or rip rap. Grass contains little roots to hold soil in place, and rip rap can fail, both of which lead to shoreline soil erosion, property loss and sediment pollution in the lake,” the release stated.

“Preventing waves during high water levels greatly reduces shoreline erosion, protecting them and preserving the water quality and wildlife enjoyed by communities.”