publiclaunchopensBoating season officially gets underway as of tomorrow, April 1, as the Big Bear Municipal Water District re-opens the public launch ramps, which had been closed during the winter months to allow the shoreline to foster the bald eagle habitat. As the MWD’s General Manager Scott Heule tells KBHR, “The ramps open tomorrow morning at 6am—even though it will still be dark, [they’ll be open] for fishermen who want to get an early start.” In addition to readying the ramps for launch, the MWD also held a Quagga Mussel seminar today, to review the threat of the invasive Quagga Mussel which, if it were to infect Big Bear Lake, could severely affect our ecosystem and snowmaking operations for the ski resorts. Heule says that all Big Bear Lake-area marinas were represented at today’s seminar and over 80 individuals who staff marinas and private docks are now certified as Level I Quagga Mussel Inspectors. At this point, Big Bear Lake remains Quagga-free and, with added mitigation measures—including the certified Quagga inspectors at every dock and marina—that is the hope and intention of the MWD, which spent nearly $100,000 to keep the Quagga from Big Bear Lake in 2008. According to Heule, “As long as other lakes are doing as much as we are, we are optimistic.” Going forward, any vessels that may be carrying the Quagga will be decontaminated, using the high-pressure water wash–and these will be done free of charge, as the new-this-year $5 Quagga surcharge on each boat permit will cover this cost. Still, adds Heule, “A boat that wintered in Big Bear will get launched real quickly.”