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Wakesurfing is a great sport [“Surfer Girl
,” Summer Fun, May 16], but like any sport, it should be undertaken where appropriate, and legitimate questions can be raised as to whether it's appropriate on Lake Austin. Why is this? Wakesurfing is completely dependent on the creation of large boat wakes, some would say excessively large. And in addition to boats that are designed to produce these large wakes, wakesurfers put in ballast tanks, known as "fat sacks." These fat sacks – some of which add over half a ton of weight – result in even bigger wakes.
These wakes contribute to shoreline erosion, long-term damage to shoreline boat docks and bulkheads, and pose a risk to other boats and swimmers. Wakes on the relatively narrow Lake Austin are easily two to four times higher now than when waterskiing and wakeboarding were the predominate activity. As wakesurfing becomes more popular, its negative effects will increase. Other bodies of water have begun looking at this issue and placed limitations on wakesurfing. It may be time to look at how Lake Austin is being affected by wakesurfing.
Kudos to the city of Austin for planning to be emissions-free by 2050 [“Climate Change: City Targets Zero Emissions
,” News, May 23]. However, there is a serious disconnect between what the city wants to accomplish and what their congressional delegates are voting for in Congress. Even though Austin wants to act on climate change, last week the U.S. House of Representatives voted to prevent the military from using information from scientific studies on climate change to guide their planning of national security. Are they nuts? Why would anyone want to prevent the military from using information gathered by our nation's finest scientists?
Readers should please call their congressmen and insist that Congress acknowledge the seriousness of climate change and pass national climate-change legislation, creating incentives to make it easier for every city and town to lower their emissions.