By Shawn Chitnis

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4)– Westminster is banning trailer boats from Standley Lake indefinitely. That’s because there are concerns about the threat of zebra and quagga mussels in the water.

“It’s a big playground out here for boaters in our area,” said Rick Sober, the owner of Best Marine. “You just dropped out one private one that was a very big boating lake in our area.”

The boat service shop in Wheat Ridge works on pleasure, family, and fishing boats from across Colorado as well as Wyoming and Nebraska. Sober says the lake is a popular destination for hundreds of boats each year and now they will have to find a new spot for the summer.

The mussels can clog drinking water infrastructure as well as destroy a lake’s eco-system. So far, there aren’t any zebra or quagga mussels in the water and they want to keep it that way.

Standley Lake (credit: CBS)

Westminster says that last year, boaters weren’t always playing by the rules and deliberately bypassing protective measures.

Sober helps boat owners make sure they are up to code to enter bodies of water like Standley Lake. He assists with emissions tests for boats and explained the steps needed to take a boat from one lake to another without spreading muscles and contaminating new water.

All 2019 boat permits that have been issued for trailered boats have been cancelled. Those who paid for the permits will receive a refund. No new permits will be issued.

(credit: CBS)

Permits can still be purchased for non-trailered watercraft such as kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards. Those will still have to go through the city’s decontamination procedure.

“The invasive species is a big deal across the nation, and it’s becoming bigger,” Sober said. “It’s been something that all the reservoirs are trying to figure out, possibly slow down.”

Sober says this is an issue that will only become more of a challenge for the boating community. He says owners will need to be prepared for other popular spots to consider similar policies.

“Standley Lake is the drinking water supply for roughly 300,000 people in Westminster, Northglenn and Thornton,” said Max Kirschbaum, Public Works and Utilities Department director in a statement. “Water comes directly from the lake into our treatment system. If these mussels establish themselves in the lake, there would be significant, on-going costs to keep our system running. Protecting our community’s water supply will always be the chief concern.”

Copter4 flew over Standley Lake (credit: CBS)

According to Westminster, Standley Lake was the first body of water in Colorado to implement a zebra and quagga mussel protection plan. Since 2007, Westminster has utilized a system of decontamination for all watercraft, plus a quarantine program for all trailered boats.

A meeting has been scheduled on Tuesday, April 2, from 6-7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the community room at the City Park Recreation Center located at 10455 Sheridan Blvd.

LINKS: Westminster Boating Policy | Best Marine Service

Shawn Chitnis