CONTACT: John Reimer, Interim Deputy Director, (608) 224-3612

The Dane County Land and Water Resources Department would like to remind boaters and lakefront property owners that the Yahara Lakes will be lowered to summer lake level minimums and transitioned to winter operating levels starting on November 1. The annual winter lake level drawdown is intended to help prevent shoreline ice damage and allow for flood storage capacity after the spring runoff. This year’s seasonal drawdown may take an extended period of time to reach summer lake level minimums on all lakes, due to the above average rainfall over the last two months.

There are over 160 buoys that are annually placed in the Yahara River and Lakes to aid boaters with navigation. The removal of buoys began October 2 and will be complete by November 1. Lake users are asked to use caution and be on the alert for underwater hazards that may damage watercraft.

The Tenney Lock, located on the Yahara River between Lakes Mendota and Monona, will be open on weekends between 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. through October 29, the last day of the season.

October 1 – November 1 Removal of navigational buoys.
November 1 – Transition of lake levels to winter operating range begins.
November 1 – Removal of piers at county access sites. (Access piers at Babcock County Park on Lake Waubesa will remain in place and open until winter.)
November 1 – Tenney Lock closed for the season.

Dane County also asks boat owners, lake residents and contractors to use caution when removing their piers, docks and boats from the water. Zebra mussels are present in the Yahara Chain of Lakes and this invasive species is colonizing on submerged portions of boats and piers. Zebra mussels have sharp edges on their outer shells that can cut hands. If you remove them, please bag and dispose of them in the trash. Please remember that any movement of equipment is forbidden by state law if any invasive species are attached. The high recreational use of the Yahara Chain of Lakes and its close proximity to other popular waterbodies increases the risk that zebra mussels or other aquatic invasive species are transported by boat to and from Dane County waters.

For more information, please see the following links:

To learn more about zebra mussels or Wisconsin aquatic invasive species regulations visit:

To read more about how Dane County is working to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species visit:

Current lake levels are updated daily and can be found at:

Tenney Lock Schedule:

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