Survey 2016 Lake Users Survey Results

The Friends of Lake Sakakawea conducted an online survey of Lake Sakakawea boaters and users to poll recreational practices and measure the level of interest and intensity on specific issues concerning the lake. The online survey was conducted over the course of three weeks. Four hundred twenty-nine (429) individuals took the poll. Participants could only take the survey one time. Key findings of this survey include:

  • More than half have used their boat more than 20 times during the last year. Fifty-one (51) percent of boaters have used their boat more than 20 times during the last twelve months. Forty (40) percent of respondents have used their boat less than 20 months during the same time. Only nine (9) percent volunteered that they did not use their boat in the past year.

  • Fishing is the dominant primary activity for boaters on Lake Sakakawea. Far and away, fishing is the dominant activity with 71 percent of participants indicating that it is their primary activity. Recreational boating (18%) and water-skiing or other water sports (5%) rounded out the list. A small minority listed other activities, such as sailing and scuba diving, as uses for their boats.

  • Ninety-four (94) percent are very or somewhat concerned about Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS). Fifty (50) percent are very concerned about the possibility of invasion by ANS, while 44 percent are somewhat concerned. Six (6) percent were not concerned about ANS.

A common comment shared throughout the survey was that the state is not doing enough to prevent ANS from coming into North Dakota.

  • Ninety-one percent (91%) are very or somewhat concerned about chemical contamination. There is widespread concern about the possibility of chemical contamination in Lake Sakakawea. Fifty-six (56) percent are very concerned about such an incident. Thirty-five (35) percent are somewhat concerned, while nine (9) percent are not concerned.

  • Eighty-eight percent (88%) are very or somewhat concerned about public access to the lake. Sixty-one (61) percent are very concerned about public access. Twenty-seven (27) percent are somewhat concerned about the issue. Twelve (12) percent are not concerned.

There were frequent comments regarding frustration with dock maintenance and permits. Limited shoreline access, especially for non-boating fishermen and women and families was a common listed frustration.

  • When asked to rank the three issues in importance, participants ranked chemical contamination as their top concern. The survey asked participants to rank chemical contamination (water quality), ANS, and lake access on a scale from one to ten, with one being the most important issue. Chemical contamination was ranked as the number one concern by 58 percent of participants. ANS and public access were ranked second and third respectively.