Lee’s Summit’s Lakewood subdivision to control lake, fighting spread of zebra mussels

rpulley@lsjournal.comJune 19, 2013 

The Lakewood community will put up gates at boat ramps this July to control access as one measure to prevent zebra mussels from invading their private lake.

The subdivision is one of many in the area that are vulnerable to the nuisance creature that’s already in Smithville Lake, the Missouri River and Lake Lotawana.

Lakewood residents agreed mussels are a headache they don’t want.

The prolific mussels, a species from Eurasia spreading in the U.S., attach to the hulls of boats, docks, even onto other wildlife. They clog water intakes, boat motors and compete with native species for food.

The Lakewood Property Owners Association proposed a set of new rules and security to make sure no one brings the mussels into their lake, including gates and inspections.

Some of the boaters at Lakewood, who happen to move their watercraft frequently, thought the proposals were intrusive.

“Still a bad deal,” said Rex Murdock, a resident who often fishes in other lakes besides at home. “The action is extreme.”

He said he was out of town during the property owners meeting June 13 where the Lakewood Property Owners Association Board of Directors voted to approve the policy.

“From what I understand the LPOA board does not know how they will implement some parts of the policy but still voted to make it a regulation,” Murdock said. “It is over the top.”

Sean Bachtel, director of community relations for the a LPOA, said the board decided to go the full program, but implement it in increments.

“It allows us for the period of this summer, to get a handle on inspections and staffing levels, so we’ll know if something needs to be tweaked,” Bachtel said.

Lakewood will start with education, mailing information to residents about zebra mussels and posting signs at boat ramps by the middle of July, gates will be installed at boat ramps.

Before a boat is launched on the lake, Lakewood personnel will inspect it to see whether it is clean and dry.

When a boat is leaving the lake, personnel will install a seal on the boat and trailer to indicate if it’s used elsewhere. If a boater returns with seal intact, they can launch their craft without an inspection.

If there is standing water in the boat, or in live wells, or plant life is hanging off the trailer, there will be an inspection and staff could refuse it entrance to the lake.

“Those are red flags,” Bachtel said.

Bachtel said the majority of residents support the program.

The measures include some other rules marinas and boat storage outfits. Owners who are caught breaking the rules can face a $5,000 fine.

Only after Jan. 1 will the full program be underway, with boat washing stations installed.

Bachtel said washing every time a boat is moved from one body of water to another is preferred because the larvae, called veligers, can’t be seen unaided.

They can survive several days out of water, or even longer in humid weather. So cleaning a boat with water at a temperature greater than 104 degrees, or with bleach, to kill them is the best precaution.

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