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Saturday, February 23 , 2019, 4:12 am | Fair 39º

 
 
 
 
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Cachuma Boat Launch Restrictions May Be Toughened

Wary of quagga and zebra mussel infestations, county may add pre-launch protocols.

Santa Barbara County may soon tighten inspection protocols for boats prior to launch at Lake Cachuma in an effort to help fight the possible introduction of invasive quagga and zebra mussels in the lake. The Board of Supervisors will consider the recommendations during its Tuesday meeting in Santa Maria.

The proposals come from the county Parks Department and a special ad hoc committee the supervisors created March 11. Committee members included 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, the board chairman; 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone; members of the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board; several South Coast water districts; and the public.

COMB is responsible for providing water from Lake Cachuma to its member water districts on the South Coast. Approximately 80 percent of the water used on the South Coast comes from the lake.

Quagga mussels, a non-native species of freshwater mollusk, can quickly multiply and are known to clog waterways, pipelines, change the ecosystems of the water system where they live, and create costly maintenance issues. They have been found in several Southern California lakes.

Among the proposed pre-launch requirements:

• All boats and trailers must be clean and dry.

• All drain plugs must be removed prior to boat transport that day.

• All boats longer than 24 feet will be quarantined on-site for 14 days before launch.

• All out-of-state boats will be quarantined on-site for 14 days.

• All California boats with registration addresses near known infected lakes will be quarantined on-site for 14 days.

• All boats and trailers will be thoroughly inspected and treated by hot pressure wash after passing the visual inspection and quarantine requirements.

• Boat launch tags will be available for boat owners who wish to remove their boats from the lake and who do not plan to use them elsewhere before returning to Cachuma.

The boat launch ramp is currently closed for repairs and no boats are being allowed to launch at the lake because of the ongoing work. Boats already at the lake, including privately owned boats docked at the marina or rentals, have access.

The supervisors will consider the recommendations during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Betteravia Government Center, 511 E. Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria. The boat launch protocol is the first item on the board’s departmental agenda that follows the administrative agenda and public comment portions. Click here for Tuesday’s agenda.

Click here for more information about Lake Cachuma or call the lake’s information line at 805.686.5054.

Meanwhile, the 13th annual Trout Derby sponsored by the nonprofit Cachuma Lake Nature Center is still scheduled for April 19-20.  Advanced registration is $30 per adult until April 1, $35 afterward. The entry fee for children age 10 and younger is $10.

There is $5,000 in cash prizes for a variety of winning categories for both adults and children, including longest trout caught, trout caught with the highest numbered tag and shortest trout caught. Call the Trout Derby Hotline at 805.693.8381 for more information.

William Boyer is Santa Barbara County’s communications director.

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