With the beginning of the bathing season, Lake Zug becomes very popular with water sports enthusiasts. In particular, the popularity of stand-up paddleboards (SUP) grows with the rising temperatures. In order to ensure that this leisure activity has no negative effects on local nature, it's necessary to observe some rules.
Stand-up paddling can cause disturbances, and thereby stress for animals. With the rising temperatures, the number of SUP on Lake Zug will soon grow, and, due to its great popularity, people are appearing more often in all areas of the lake. And some of these areas are places where animals have been undisturbed until now, and felt accordingly safe. According to the media release of the Cantonal Building Directorate, the potential for animal disruption is usually underestimated, because SUPs are almost silent. And it’s not only the number of stand-up paddlers that represents a problem for breeding and resting waterfowl. Due to their standing silhouette, paddlers can be seen from afar. This puts the waterfowl on alert, and they may react by flying away. This costs energy, and can affect their survival.
Picture 1: The shallow water protection zone marked with yellow buoys in the Choller may not be navigated with boats and water sports equipment. Image: PD
Picture 2: A distance of at least 30 metres must be maintained from reed beds Image: PB
Keep your distance from reed beds
There has been an exclusion zone in the Choller on Lake Zug for the protection of waterfowl and the shallow water zone since 2017, and the area is marked with yellow buoys. The exclusion zone may not be entered with boats and other sports equipment. The only exclusions from this regulation are professional fisherman, boathouse owners and the canoe club, each of which have to cross the zone in a direct path, however. Compliance with the exclusion zone is monitored by the water police (Gewässerpolizei).
There are no other large-scale nature conservation-related restricted zones on Lake Zug and Lake Ägeri at present, but there are also areas outside the exclusion zone that should be avoided as much as possible. In particular, paddling in front of extensive reed beds, such as those near the Dersbach on Lake Zug, or at the southern end of Lake Ägeri, endangers rare bird species, such as the great reed warbler (Drosselrohrsänger) or the water rail (Wasserralle). You should therefore maintain a distance of at least 30 metres from the reed bed. In addition, you should not paddle at night and within the field of view of flocks of birds on the water. Because when the first bird flies away, the whole flock often follows. This costs a lot of energy, especially in winter and during the migration period: energy that is then missing for reproduction. A single paddler could easily disturb thousands of water fowl!
The estuary areas of watercourses should also be avoided in periods of hot weather, as they are often the last cool retreats for fish.
Observe the rules of conduct
Due to the problems that can arise with SUPs, the Sempach Vogelwarte (Ornithological Station), Pro Natura, Swiss Canoe and the Hunting and Fisheries Managers' Conference have drawn up rules of conduct for considerate paddling. These are summarised in a flyer, which can be downloaded here.
More information on animal-friendly stand-up paddling can be found here.