The following is a message from Steve Meyer, the Chairman of the Hayden Lake Watershed Improvement District’s Board of Directors.
Great progress occurred in the last week! The County Commissioners have approved the deployment of all 14 buoys, and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) says all but five illegal buoys have been removed. The Watershed Improvement District contractor will pick up the remaining illegal buoys when deploying the new legal ones. Buoy parts, ordered June 4, have been delayed by COVID-19 issues. We are hoping they arrive in the next two weeks.
Your District has been working on a project to reduce wake-induced shoreline erosion by informing boaters about the 200’ no wake rule, and now the new 300’ rule for wake boats. This project includes new information signs at launch facilities and installing navigational buoys to help boaters accurately judge their distance from the shore. Both boaters and the Sheriff’s marine deputies were stuck in applying the rules by a maze of private buoys at varying distances from the shoreline. In addition, the private buoys are an illegal infringement on State property. The solution, to place new, legal buoys at consistent, enforceable distances from the shore, ran through a complex set of overlapping jurisdictions.
The Watershed Improvement District offered to pay for new navigation buoys. The County and the State offered financial participation too. Last summer, IDL granted a permit for 14 new navigation buoys to the County with the condition that all the illegal buoys be removed. The County, in turn, assigned those permits to the District. We urged IDL to start the removal notifications to ensure the timely installation of the new buoys. They began this spring, and most owners honored their directive.
The County initially approved eight buoys around the entire lake. We argued that eight were too few. Last Thursday, July 9, the Board of County Commissioners approved the installation of all 14 buoys permitted by the State. Although we didn’t have the approvals we wanted, the District ordered the buoy parts on June 4th. We hope to receive the last of the parts in the next few weeks. The District has an installation contract with Frey Dock & Barge to install the new buoys.
At the July 9 County Commissioner’s meeting, the IDL reported that only five illegal buoys remain. The IDL has agreed that the District will pick up the remaining illegal buoys in conjunction with deploying the legal ones. Our plan is to mark the Lat/Long location on the removed buoys so the owners can retrieve them from storage. Todd Walker, the District lake manager, will try to determine who owns the remaining buoys. He will also contact the adjacent property owners.
The Sheriff’s marine deputy force has committed to be on Hayden lake Wednesday through Sunday to help boaters understand and honor the shoreline distance rules. The team that covers our lake also has 14 other lakes to cover.
Thanks to all of you for supporting this project with your enthusiasm and persistence to provide the framework to educate boaters and reduce wake-induced shoreline erosion. In the longer term, if the 14 buoys don’t get the necessary results, the District can apply to the IDL for more in the future.
We will continue to keep you appraised of project status.
Your support is invaluable to help keep Hayden Lake the jewel it is.