The County of Santa Barbara Community Services Department Parks Division has received Board of Supervisor’s approval to increase protection from aquatic invasive species at Cachuma Lake.
Staff is now enforcing 30-day vessel quarantine on all vessels entering Cachuma Lake, which is an extension of the current 14-day quarantine period.
Paddy Langlands said the longer quarantine will give additional protection against the invasive species. Langlands said a new study shows the Quagga and Zebra Mussels can survive up to 27 days out of the water, and that’s why they’ve increased the quarantine time for boats.
Liz Gaspar, Park Naturalist, said “It (Quagga and Zebra mussels) would change everything about the lake. They’re ecosystem engineers it would be a dramatically different place if they were to spread beyond Piru.”
The invasive mussels are not native to the lake’s ecosystem. They can clog waterways, undermine healthy lake ecosystems and create costly maintenance for water resource agencies.
To date, the county doesn’t have indications that Cachuma Lake has been exposed to Quagga or Zebra mussels. In December 2013 the mussels were discovered in lake Piru, 55 miles from Cachuma Lake. Lake Piru is the first lake infected by the Quagga Mussel that didn’t come from the Colorado River system.
People can have their boats inspected at the Waller Park and South County operations offices by appointment, or at Cachuma Lake. For more information visit www.sbparks.org.