07
Jun
11

Riverwatch: Emergency Boating Closure Enacted on LakeOahe Near Dam

PIERRE, S.D. – To ensure the safety of boaters on Lake Oahe, Governor Dennis Daugaard has established a ‘no boating zone’ on waters within ½ mile upstream from Oahe Dam effective at 8 am on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

This action will allow boaters to continue to access Lake Oahe via the West Shore Boat Ramp located near at the face of the dam, however, boaters will be diverted away from the whirlpool and boat closure area via a series of buoys.  This order will be in effect until rescinded by the Governor.

State law gives the Governor authority to prohibit or restrict recreational use or navigation on any portion of a river, lake or stream in order to protect the public peace, health, or safety, according to Jeff Vonk, Secretary of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department.

“Record discharges of water through the stilling basin below Lake Oahe have resulted in the formation of a whirlpool at the intakes to the stilling basin,” said Vonk.  “These stilling basin intakes are located less than 400 yards east of the West Shore Boat Ramp and there is a safety concern for boaters using this area,” he said.

“The West Shore Boat Ramp is a popular area for anglers and boaters to access Lake Oahe and salmon fishermen in particular have used this ramp to gain quick access to deeper waters at the face of the dam,” said Vonk.  “We hope that by using a series buoys to divert the boat traffic launching from the West Shore Ramp that we’ll be able to ensure public safety and still provide boaters access to this popular area,” he said.

Vonk encourages boaters and fishermen who plan to access Lake Oahe to use several of the other boating access facilities located at East Shore (Corps Bay), Peoria Flats, Chantier Creek, and the more developed access sites at Spring Creek and Cow Creek.

Notices of this Boating Closure will be posted at boating access sites at West Shore, East Shore and near the east intake structures on Lake Oahe.  A violation of the public waterway restriction is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $500 or both.

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