June 3, 2020

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Shawano Lake, Following Today’s FERC Decision, Will Be Ready for Safer Recreation this Summer

SHAWANO– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a temporary order this morning raising Shawano Lake to historic water levels effective immediately:

“I continue to be proud of the partnership that’s been formed in Shawano which has led to the latest temporary approval by FERC to raise the water levels. Shawano Lake is a pristine recreation hub to visit and a fun and relaxing place to call home. This order comes just in time to allow residents and visitors to continue enjoying their weeknights and weekends like they always have: safely on Shawano Lake.”

Following an early 2015 order by FERC to draw down lake levels by approximately five inches, Senator Cowles has been involved with successfully seeking temporary approvals to raise lake levels for the past three-years after being made aware of the issue by Shawano Area Waterways Management. The break from the 30-year historic water levels, as required initially in the early 2018 order, resulted in concerns from lake-goers for their safety and ability to recreate as even lower lake levels on the already shallow Shawano Lake exposed more structure on the lake bottom resulting in potential hazards that could lead to injury or property damage. Lower water levels also limited access to the lake at public boat launches and on the shorelines and docks of waterfront property owners.

“For a third year, a temporary approval to raise the lake back to a level necessary for safe navigation and recreation for the summer is welcome and appreciated, but continuing to seek temporary approvals year after year is not a long-term solution. It’s my hope that we’ll be able to work cooperatively between stakeholders this summer to seek a permanent order that keeps Shawano Lake open for recreation all summer, every summer.”

The temporary order to raise the Shawano Lake levels was necessary to let lake-goers enjoy recreating in the water this summer while a permanent order is negotiated, prepared, and submitted to FERC to make its way through a more tedious approval process.