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Westminster approves agreement to continue motorized boater ban on Standley Lake

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Posted at 3:31 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 17:32:37-05

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — The City of Westminster reached an updated agreement with the cities of Northglenn and Thornton to continue a ban on motorized and trailered boating on Standley Lake due to invasive mussel concerns.

The amended Intergovernmental Agreement allows few exceptions, including motorized or trailered boats needed for water quality testing and ranger or emergency rescue operations, according to the City of Westminster.

The ban was first implemented in March 2019 because of the concern of zebra or quagga mussels in the lake, which led to questions from many Standley Lake boaters and residents.

The IGA also indicates shared liability between all three cities for any impacts to future water quality caused by recreation. In exchange, Northglenn and Thornton will have increased oversight. All three cities will equally fund a Security Audit of the lake to identify any threats to water quality at Standley Lake. A committee formed in 1995 with staff from the cities will continue to meet, review and agree upon what recreational uses will be allowed at the lake following the guidelines.

According to Gregg Moss with the City of Westminster, there are no zebra or quagga mussels in Standley Lake at this time, but it would be costly if they did enter the lake. The estimated cost for remediation would be $10 million in capital expenses for the City of Westminster alone and $3 million in annual operating costs, which would significantly increase the cost to deliver water.

"Zebra quagga mussel (ZQM) infestation has proven to destroy ecosystems, create taste and odor issues for treated water and degrade water quality in communities that have had to deal with the issue," Moss said in a statement.

Standley Lake serves as a drinking water source for more than 300,000 people in the north metro area.

“This important agreement will ensure that hundreds of thousands of people in our community continue to have a reliable, healthy water supply while also maximizing allowed recreational opportunities at this regional-park and wildlife refuge,” Westminster City Manager Don Tripp said.

The amended IGA was approved Northglenn City Council on Oct. 26 and by Westminster City Council Nov. 9. It will be considered by Thornton City Council for final approval later in November.

Moss said there is always a chance they could allow motorized and trailered boating in the future, but it would require all three cities to agree the return wouldn't pose any threat to the water supply found in Standley Lake.