MARINETTE — A proposal for the county to enact a slow no-wake ordinance for a portion of the Peshtigo River from the bay to the dam in the City of Peshtigo appears to be dead for now after Tuesday’s meeting of the Marinette County Development Committee.

The committee unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Robert Holley that was seconded by Supervisor Bonnie Popp to take no action at this time on the proposal.

The proposal stemmed from concerns raised earlier this year by Supervisor Tom Mandli about significant damage to the shoreline being caused by high-water and boaters traveling too fast.

The committee at its Feb. 5 meeting authorized Land Information Director Greg Cleereman to work with Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison and County Administrator John Lefebvre to draft a no-wake ordinance regulating boating activities during flooding events for a portion of Peshtigo River and to bring a draft ordinance back to the committee.

There was no draft ordinance presented at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I agree with the principles of preventing erosion from the boats, but I’m worried to death about what’s it’s going to mean — what doors are going to be opening,” Cleereman said. “I’m worried about opening this door that if we’re going to regulate this body of water, then how do we say no to the next requests.

“We’re not experienced or equipped or trained to regulate this body of water. I think it might a problem, especially having seen it done at other places. It’s going to be a major challenge.”

Mattison said she provided Cleereman with sample ordinances from other parts of the state, typically addressing high-water issues.

“It isn’t just about speeding, there needs to be measurements and studies,” she said. “Whether you are looking at certain times of the year when its high water or year-round need to considered.”

She said any ordinance needs to take into account the type, size and depth of the body of water, the type and speed of boating traffic, boating safety and congestion and could include restrictions on speed, certain types of boating and during specified hours.

“Would we be opening a can of worms if we did this?” asked Holley.

“The folks I’ve talked to seem to like the idea,” said Cleereman. “I’m scared to death what it would take to enforce it and maintain the buoys.”

DNR Conservation Warden Darren Kuhn told the committee at its Feb. 5 meets that enacting a slow no-wake zone would require buoys and signage.

Mandli said education efforts would also be helpful to cause boaters to reduce their speeds.

“It was in the paper that we had this discussion and there’s already a number of boaters during a no-wake,” he said. “I was really surprised, they must think something is in place already.”

“More education is important,” Supervisor Bonnie Popp said.

One of the major concerns expressed about enacting a slow no-wake ordinance was who would enforce it.

“Who is going to enforce it as far as writing citations?” Mattison said. “It’s not as easy as just saying you want a no-wake ordinance.”

She also expressed concerns about attorney and court time and noted “if a local entity for a boating organization objects to such an ordinance, they have the right to ask for an administrative hearing and if they don’t like the outcome they can take it to circuit court.”

Mandli said the DNR warden at last month’s meeting said that a no-wake ordinance could be enforced by the DNR and the Sherifff’s Department’s recreational officer.

“The recreational officer covers the whole county,” Mattison said. “I know that our recreational officer attempts to scheduled himself for places where there are busy times and it looks like there’s going to be a problem.

“There is no way our recreational officer can be parked out there watching the no-wake, it’s just not going to happen.”

“My point is we don’t have to have somebody there every minute of the day,” Mandli said. “People on the water would have no idea when enforcement would be there, the threat that they may be there makes people behave.”

Lefebvre suggested that the committee take no action until its gets a request from the Town of Peshtigo that the county should address this and as to why the town doesn’t want to address it.”

“I think the Town of Peshtigo should be involved,” said Supervisor Ted Sauve, committee chairperson. “Where do we go from here for their comments.”