Launch fees hiked to deal with mussel on central coast | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Launch fees hiked to deal with mussel on central coast

The Associated Press

SANTA MARIA, Calif. ” Boat launch fees are being hiked up to 45 percent at Lake Cachuma next month to pay for the extra vigilance needed to keep invasive quagga mussels out of the popular Santa Barbara County lake.

The Board of Supervisors, meeting in Santa Maria on Tuesday, rejected water agency pleas to ban all boats on Cachuma and instead approved the fee increases.

The mussel can hitchhike in boat bilge areas and motors.

Lake Tahoe officials are pursuing similar fees and restrictions to keep invasive mussels away from the lake.

An infestation of the voracious mussel could destroy the lake’s ecosystem, clog water pipes and damage other equipment. Cachuma is the main water supply for Santa Barbara.

Annual launch fees increase from $65 to $125 while the cost for seniors goes from $55 to $85. The daily boat launch fee rises from $8 to $13.