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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Taskforce researches how to restore boats on Standley Lake while not compromising water quality

On Tuesday, May 14, the Standley Lake Boating Taskforce will hold its fourth meeting since the March 19 announcement of the indefinite closure of Standley Lake to trailered boats due to concerns of zebra and quagga mussels. The creation of the taskforce was announced at the April 2 boaters’ meeting that was attended by hundreds of community members. The purpose of the taskforce is to evaluate options for restoring trailered boats to Standley Lake without compromising the quality of the water.

More than 40 attendees at the boaters’ meeting expressed interest in serving on the taskforce. The citizen advisory board for the Park, Recreation and Libraries Department reviewed applications and selected the Standley Lake Boating Taskforce members in mid-April. The SLBT held its first meeting on April 23, followed by meetings on April 30 and May 2.

City staff representing the Parks, Recreation and Libraries Department and the Public Works and Utilities Department are present at taskforce meetings to answer questions by the Standley Lake Boating Taskforce. The May 2 meeting included demonstrations of the tagging system previously used at Standley Lake and used by the State of Colorado, as well as a demonstration and discussion by the citizen-organized Friends of Standley Lake group, in collaboration with local boat vendors and mechanics, on proposed tagging system improvements. A sub-committee was identified by the taskforce to further study tagging system improvements.

The May 2 meeting concluded with the Standley Lake Boating Taskforce submitting recommended solutions for staff consideration, based on information considered at this point. Staff are in the process of reviewing these recommended solutions and will provide feedback at the May 14 meeting.

Park, Recreation and Libraries Director Jason Genck reports that, “all stakeholders continue to be proactive on exploring solutions to continue trailed boating on Standley Lake without compromising water quality.” SLBT meeting dates, agendas, minutes, recordings, and related documentation are all available on the Standley Lake Boating Taskforce webpage for those looking for more information about the process.

On May 8 staff clarified in a letter to boat owners that any new program that may be developed will require every boat to go through a mandatory decontamination with a 35-day quarantine. Staff asked all previous trailered boat permit holders to remove any Westminster tags and encouraged them to consider other options to enjoy their boats at this time. The letter states, “While significant work is underway to find solutions, we don’t have a clear timeframe on resolution at this point.”

The March decision to not allow trailered boats on Standley Lake was due to increasing concerns of zebra and quagga mussel infestation. Although the invasive species have not been detected in Westminster’s drinking water supply, a recent review of the policies and methods used to prevent an infestation found decontamination is not fully effective for many trailered boats. Boat launch data for 2018 also found multiple instances of Standley Lake boaters deliberately bypassing protective measures. More information on this decision, concerns about zebra and quagga mussels, and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the city’s boating webpage.  

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