SL Twp. asks for temporary no-wake zone on Indian Channel

Mar. 26—The Indian Channel off the Grand River could soon become a no-wake zone to all boats (temporarily) if the Department of Natural Resources approves a Public Act 72 request from Spring Lake Township.

Township board members voted in favor of submitting the request to the state for a 1,000-foot section of the channel. Clerk Carolyn Boersma was the lone no vote on the resolution during a virtual board meeting Monday night.

The DNR, once it receives the request, has 10 days to make a decision. Once in place, the no-wake zone would exist for six months. If it was still needed after that time, the township board would have to make another request.

State officials agreed to passage of emergency no-wake zones due to record high water levels across the state the last couple of years.

Public Act 72 of 2020 allows local governmental units to apply for temporary no-wake zones to help prevent shoreline erosion associated with current high water levels.

During a public hearing before the vote, Township Supervisor John Nash said the township had received a petition signed by a dozen property owners along the Grand River asking for the no-wake zone.

Area resident Carl Smith said that not only was he in favor of the no-wake zone in Indian Channel, but also further downstream.

Smith said boat wake eroded the riverbanks and caused the channels to fill. He said it could cost a lot more money to dredge those channels, than to purchase buoys so that the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department could enforce the no-wake zones.

Boom Road resident Roger Rose echoed the need for buoys in addition to the seawall he built to protect his property. He also noted that the no-wake was needed to keep Boom Road from washing out.

The majority of the board members said they supported the no-wake in the Indian Channel, which Nash said was the most critical area.

"It is enforceable and markable," he said.

The board declined to make a no-wake request for any other part of the Grand River at the time.

Boersma, who voted against the resolution, said that she understands the issues, but that she wouldn't vote for a no-wake zone anywhere on the river.

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