“Boat traffic in the high-water season has become a problem for us,” Dr. Mark Ivey told the Spring Lake Township Board at a recent meeting. “We don't have steel seawalls. They never get up on plane so they create significant wakes.”
Ivey said waves cascading toward waterfront property can reach heights of 3-4 feet.
“It's caused significant property damage over the last two summers,” he said.
Residents cited floating dock systems being destroyed, shoreline erosion and undermining of Boom Road asphalt as primary concerns.
Neighbors said most of the boats causing damage are 26 feet long or more. They suggested the board consider enacting a no-wake zone, similar to what is in effect on Spring Lake, where boats larger than 26 feet can only cruise at no-wake speeds.
Related: LINK TO OTTAWA COUNTY’S NO-WAKE ZONES.
Township Supervisor John Nash said he has been in contact with Ivey and Michigan Department of Natural Resources representatives regarding a potential no-wake zone.
Several years ago, the Township Board went through a similar situation farther upriver, with residents wanting to enact a no-wake zone in front of their properties. That took many months and several DNR public hearings to get it accomplished.
“There's quite a procedure that goes on,” Nash said. “I've been in this procedure before. High water is a Mother Nature thing. We can't say we'll have no wake in high water and wake when it's lower. The DNR would never accept anything like that.”
Nash said that, as a boater, it bothers him that stretches of the river fluctuate between wake and no wake.
“That gets a little ridiculous,” he said. “It's (problems) multiplied by the high water, but really we can't deal with the high water.”
Nash said the DNR is in charge of such matters, and any potential change requires public hearings. He said Grand Haven Township may also be involved because it has jurisdiction over the other side of the river from Spring Lake Township’s Boom Road.
Nash said he empathizes with the land owners, but there's not much the board can do.
“I think it's a definite problem, but please don't get the idea we can vote 'yes' and it's done,” he explained to them. “It's not anywhere that simple.”
However, Nash said he would talk to a DNR official about the issue.