WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Community members packed a meeting Tuesday night to share their concerns over the city of Westminster's decision to ban trailered boats at Standley Lake.
The city made that decision last month amid worries about the zebra mussels. Zebra and quagga mussels are a non-native aquatic species that have the potential for significant damage.
The ban upset many boaters who argued that the mussels have not been found in the water at Standley Lake.
"And people are very upset, very emotional, very upset about it," said Bill Bistline, who owns a boat dealership in Denver. He called the move a knee-jerk reaction. "Oh, absolutely. Yeah, they're absolutely – they're just acting out of fear."
Tuesday night the city hosted a public meeting to talk about why the decision was made. City leaders pointed to a recent review which found that pressure washers used to decontaminate boats weren't the best to keep those mussels away.
"There's a specific reason why it's trailered boats because both of those components the trailer and the boat pose a very specific risk as it relates to the invasive species," said Max Kirschbaum, the public works and utilities director for the city.
They are a growing threat to Colorado water resources because once they are established in a body of water, they decimate local ecosystems. They also clog potable water infrastructure and cause algae blooms that threaten water quality, Westminster said.
Standley Lake provides drinking water for about 300,000 residents in Westminster, Northglenn and Thornton, Kirschbaum said.
Boaters have suggested their own solution, called one boat, one lake. If the implemented, any boats that used at Standley Lake would have to stay there through the season. They could only leave the water to get gassed up or washed.
Boaters said that would prevent the transfer of the mussels from other bodies of water.
Right now there's no timeline on when the ban might be lifted, but the city hopes to work with the boating community who uses Standley Lake to find a solution.
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