At the Natural Resources Committee meeting on August 8, Greg Chafer was there to speak about some boating issues in the county and Jake Nichols was there to give the committee an update on the Devil’s Lake Project.

Chafer, the new sheriff’s office recreational officer, stated the DNR is having an issue on Birch Island with people not decontaminating their boats. They have 30 letters to send out giving specific boaters a warning and that if they commit the same offense of not decontaminating their boat again, they will receive a citation. The people that are not decontaminating their boats are mostly residents. Chafer recommends that a mixture of 2 Tbsp of bleach per gallon of water is the best solution for decontaminating your boats. The solution will not ruin the gel coats on the boats. It is best to create the mixture in front of the boat monitors at the landings.

“As long as the boat monitors see them mix it and spray it, that’s just as good as using ours.”

Another issue they have been having with boaters is powerboating. Chafer said he would like to see a county ordinance passed for powerboating.

“I’ll be honest, a lot of other counties have it. It’s going to save money.” The Natural Resources Committee agreed that it is something that should definitely be brought up and passed in the future.

Nichols, the Burnett County Forest Administrator, spoke about the Devils Lake project. Last month CBS Squared had come up with an estimate for the Devils Lake project. They created two different estimates.

One estimate had the option to build the new wall fully of sheet pile while the other estimate had the option to build the wall with both sheet pile and rip rap. Both estimates include a new vault restroom, new asphalt, beam guard, a pedestrian ramp down to the beach, a new boat ramp and boat ramp prep. The full sheet pile wall estimate was $474,060 while the sheet pile/rip rap estimate was $302,241.60.

Nichols said that their number one priority is to take care of the wall first and foremost- he does not think that the wall will hold out for another year. He said that he believes fully sheet piling the wall will last the longest versus using rip rap on a portion of the wall. They will be writing a 50 percent cost sharing grant to Stewardship, no matter which option the committee chooses to go with, and that is due May 1, so they have a little more time to figure out exactly what they want to do with the project. He said at a bare minimal, they should be doing a full sheet pile wall with new asphalt because that’s their main problem.

As for the bathroom, they do have a little money left over to do some little repairs that are needed before the end of the year. They will be re-shingling and adding new soffits and fascia.

When the committee asked about the cost of tearing down the old wall, Nichols said that it was not included in either of the estimates. He brought up that also not included in the estimate was that whatever they decided to do, an engineer has to be the one to do it, so there will also be the cost of engineering. He estimated that the tear down would cost around $25,000 while the engineering cost may be around $20,000. If the committee looks at doing just the wall, asphalt and beam guard the project would cost approximately $293,000. That is not addressing the boat landing.

Because there is more information to figure out when it comes to the estimates and there is no fully developed plan yet, the committee gave Nichols the authority to move forward and figure out an actual plan. He will come back in the fall with full estimates and a plan for the grant writer.