July 12, 2008

Official: Landowners Should Not Block Rivers

BENTON, Wis. - Landowners along the Fever (Galena) River in Lafayette County are reminded that they cannot obstruct navigation along the popular waterway.According to Frank Fetter, a state Department of Natural Resources water management specialist based in Dodgeville, a canoeist recently injured herself trying to get under a barbed-wire fence running across the Fever River."Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident," said Jeff King, a DNR conservation warden in Darlington, adding he's received several other similar complaints over the past year and a half. "Landowners must provide a safe way through or around fencing of navigable waterways."It can be done by placing an easy to open gate or other water "pass through" structure or a gate on shore for paddlers to portage around the obstruction, Fetter said, adding fencing should also be well-marked. He also recommends erecting warning signs.Above all, electric wires should not span a waterway, but if so, they should be elevated well above the water so there's no risk of paddlers touching the wire, Fetter said.A citation for obstructing navigable waters carries a maximum forfeiture of $500 per offense.

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