August 29, 2008

Boat Inspections Start Thursday at Two East Bay Lakes

By Denis Cuff

The East Bay Regional Park District today plans to begin inspecting all private boats before launching at Del Valle Reservoir in Livermore and Contra Loma Reservoir near Antioch to prevent the spread of destructive quagga and zebra mussels.

Boats found with the mussels attached or inside will be turned away from the popular recreational lakes. Beginning July 10, any boat containing standing water will be refused entry.

The inspections will be free for one week. Effective July 10, the park district will begin charging inspection fees at Del Valle, Contra Loma and also Chabot Reservoir in Castro Valley, where inspections began earlier this year.

The fees will be $6 per boat on a trailer and $3 per car carrying one or more kayaks or other small boats on top.

A price break on fees is available for boats on trailers. After a boat passes inspection, the owner can acquire a band allowing the vessel to launch again for free at a regional park reservoir if the boat has not in the meantime visited a lake outside the district.

Quagga and zebra mussels are nonnative species that can survive on boat hulls or in standing water and then spread to new lakes. The shellfish can clog water pipes and pumps and disrupt the ecosystem by consuming huge amounts of tiny organisms at the base of the food chain.

No quagga or zebra mussels have been found in East Bay lakes, but the quagga has infected several in Southern California. The zebra mussel has invaded the San Justo Reservoir near Hollister, less than 90 miles from the East Bay park district.

Originally published by Denis Cuff, Contra Costa Times.

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