UPDATE: Floating island on the verge of breaking its tethers - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Floating island on the verge of breaking its tethers

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Barron County (WQOW) - A 2.5 acre island in a Barron County lake appears to have moved.

As WQOW News 18 reported Saturday, an island on Prairie Lake was tied down a decade ago to keep it in one spot. But two of the three cables holding it in place no longer worked. And early Sunday morning, according to lake resident Don Dauffenbach, the island has moved at least 100 to 200 yards south of where it was Saturday.

It appears the last cable snapped, causing the island to break free.


Barron County (WQOW) - Homeowners along a Barron County lake say their property is in danger. An island that floats freely there was tied down a decade ago. Now, two of the three cables holding it in place no longer work.

This land-like hunk in northern Prairie Lake is actually a floating island. About two and half acres big, the bog-like mass is home to trees 30 feet high and many spots you can walk on.

To keep it from floating freely in the lake, near the Town of Stanley, it was towed here and secured to land with three steel cables.

Now, a decade later: a problem.

"With only one of three cables holding the island, it could break loose at any time," says Don Dauffenbach, a concerned lakefront homeowner.

This summer concerned property owners on the lake, including Don, noticed one cable is too loose. Another had broken all together. Only one line is still doing its job.

The island still could very much be on the move. In just ten minutes or so, the remaining cable went from loose to tight. Wind and waves can shift the island.

Don worries a storm could let it free.

"If it was to breaking loose and go east, there's a resort over there," he says. "Five hundred feet long, you're going to take out a lot of docks."

Satellite images show there are plenty places the island could roam, causing trouble for dozens of homeowners and boaters.

"I think it's long enough that when it goes from the little part of Prairie Lake, goes through a channel by Gopher Point and goes out to the bigger part of the lake, I think it could get wedged in between," Don says.

Cutting off one part of the lake from another, neighbor Roger Kruse worries, could reduce water flow, allowing large amounts of algae to grow and cause unpleasant odors.

The group would like to tighten the cables and perhaps add more, but who owns and is ultimately responsible for the island is unclear. They're left wondering and waiting.

"Now would be the time to do something to secure it," Roger says. "If we could be proactive and do that, it'd be way less costly."

Homeowners and the area lake association paid for the floating island to be towed to its current spot and tied down back in 2000.

The lake association says there have been talks with the nearby town recently to again secure the island. But, as of right now, no action has been taken.

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