channel

Boaters that frequent the Bridgewater Channel can expect to wait a little bit longer to exit the “no wake zone.”

Buoys have been moved further from the northern mouth of the Bridgewater Channel, but time will tell if the effort will have an impact on continued erosion of the channel’s once-pristine coastline.

As erosion of the Bridgewater Channel continues to be a concern to Lake Havasu City residents, measures are being taken to mitigate or possibly even reverse the damage – starting with a bigger “no wake” zone.

Lake Havasu Marine Association representatives met this week with officials from Arizona State Parks and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to discuss a buoy line at the northern mouth of the Bridgewater Channel, which was extended by about 600 feet into Lake Havasu last month. Marine Association President Alan Oleson worked with State Parks and federal officials in extending the buoy line, and determining whether decades of sediment in the area could be dredged from the rising floor of the channel.

“The buoys were too close,” Oleson said. “We decided it would be better if they were moved out. The agencies approved, and wanted to see if it would work. Lake Havasu State Park moved the buoys about a month ago and anchored them. Now we’re about two weeks from finalizing it, and confirming the buoys’ GPS position with the Coast Guard.”

The Bridgewater Channel is clogged with the passage of hundreds of boats in a steady parade of traffic during Lake Havasu’s summer boating season, with almost all of the channel’s shoreline occupied with the slope of moored watercraft. While boaters were once free to rev their engines once free from the channel, officials say the wakes caused by doing so have for decades worn at the surrounding coastline. According to Oleson, there has been no complaint to the effort to have the “no wake” zone extended.

“With so many people moving through the channel, it was causing a problem,” Oleson said. “I think moving the buoys will increase the health of the channel.”

Lake Havasu State Park personnel will be tasked with caring for the buoy line, according to Park Manager Dan Roddy. Park staff will check the buoys several times per month, ensuring they remain in their correct positions, requisitioning repairs and checking the lights on each.

“We have an area that we cover, and the Marine Association has an area they cover,” Roddy said. “We support each other. Early indications have been positive, but it will take a long time to see what happens. But we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback … at least one person has told us that it’s ‘about time’ this was done.”

According to Oleson, the true test of the new buoy line’s effectiveness will be seen this weekend with the arrival of the International Jet Sport Boating Association’s world finals, which is scheduled to begin today in the area of Crazy Horse Campgrounds.

“If anyone can screw it up, they will,” Oleson said.

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