As the weather warms and ice conditions deteriorate, the last day to remove ice shacks from waters north of Hwy. 64 is Sunday, March 13. Areas south of Hwy. 64 had a deadline of last Sunday.
According to local DNR warden Mike Rader, in the event owners do not abide by the deadline, a 10-day notice will be issued.
If the 10-day notice is not honored, owners can face a fine of $263.10 for failure to remove.
“If for some reason we are unable to identify the owner, the DNR may or may not remove the shanty. If it is safe, we will certainly remove it however we are not required to do so by statute,” Rader adds.
If owners refuse to comply and leave their shanty on the ice, the DNR then has the option to destroy the shanty or remove it. Owners are then billed for any costs incurred.
Driving a vehicle onto the ice to retrieve a shanty could be a dangerous and costly proposition, Rader noted.
In the unfortunate event of a vehicle falling through ice, a considerable amount of time and money can be saved if vehicle owners cooperate with the process the agency has in place for such incidents.
“In most cases when vehicles fall through the ice, it’s witnessed by someone or the owner even and they then call 9-1-1,” Rader explains. “I am then contacted by the sheriff’s office for guidance on regulations and the process of removal.
“We have had two instances this year where vehicles have fallen through ice locally and in both cases I worked with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in handling the issue. When a vehicle has fallen through the ice, the owner is allowed 30 days to remove it. If 30 days pass and the owner has not complied, the DNR will seek a court order for the vehicle to be removed. If the owner still has not complied, the DNR will remove the vehicle and request a court order for reimbursement.”
Along with reimbursing the DNR for removal costs, uncooperative owners may also face fines for littering as well as obstructing waterway navigation.
Forfeiture amounts for a littering violation is $389.50 and obstructing waterway navigation is $767.60.
“In most cases owners are cooperative,” Rader adds. “It’s just cheaper for them to pay for removal than to reimburse DNR and face citations and forfeitures.”
The two instances Rader refers to was an incident earlier this month where a truck fell through the ice on Lake Alexander and an incident Thursday morning where an ATV fell through the ice on Spirit Haven Road.
The process is very similar to that of removing ice shanties.
“The reasoning behind both processes is two-fold,” Rader said. “We want to prevent navigation obstructions in the water and also prevent harmful substances such as gasoline, oil or kerosene from ending up in our waterways.”
Any questions or additional information can be obtained by contacting warden Rader at 715-495-3742.