As the threat of the invasive Quagga Mussel cost the Big Bear Municipal Water District nearly $100,000 in mitigation measures in 2008, the MWD Board held a public workshop on January 15 to determine how to off-set these costs in the coming boating season, while still keeping Big Bear Lake Quagga-free. Per the MWD’s General Manager Scott Heule, representatives from local marinas were fully cooperative with the ideas that were presented and, come MWD’s next meeting on February 5, there will be a formal consideration for Board approval. As Heule tells KBHR, “The way it’s looking, any commercial marina with launch ramps, and homeowner association ramps, will have to be staffed by certified Quagga inspectors. We will provide the training, but not the staff person. So, every boat that launches into Big Bear Lake will be inspected, rather than doing a questionnaire for each boat.” MWD has arranged for free Quagga inspector training at March’s end, and this will be provided by an outside organization that has received grant money from the California Department of Fish and Game for this purpose. The MWD is projecting an expense of $56,000 for Quagga mitigation in 2009, and free boat decontaminations will be off-set by a proposed $5 increase for each lake permit.
And, as background, this item posted December 31, 2008:
In 2008, the invasive Quagga Mussel infected many waterways (including Lake Havasu and the Colorado River), though never infected Big Bear Lake, given the efforts of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, which spent nearly $100,000 on preventative measures, and cooperative boaters, who made sure their vessels were cleaned, drained and dry before launching. The presence of the quickly multiplying Quagga could damage Big Bear Lake’s ecoystem as well as boats, and would threaten snowmaking operations at the resorts. In anticipation of the continued threat of the Quagga Mussel in the 2009 boating season, the MWD is considering an additional fee to boaters to cover the cost of Quagga mitigation measures and boat decontaminations, which had been offered free of charge in 2008. Before making any decisions, though, the MWD Board will first conduct a public hearing and workshop to consider comments from those representing commercial and private boat launching facilities. The Quagga-specific meeting will be at the MWD offices, at 40524 Lakeview Drive, at 1pm on the 15th. The MWD Board’s regularly scheduled first-Thursday meeting for tomorrow has been adjourned, as this falls on New Year’s Day.