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Join date : 2008-03-10

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PostSubject: Lake Casitas (BASS Article) Conservation   Lake Casitas (BASS Article) Conservation Icon_minitimeTue Mar 11, 2008 2:01 pm

Photo courtesy of California BASS Federation Nation

California BASS Federation Nation member Mark "Chief" Torrez with a couple of recent Casitas lunkers.
Anglers that frequent one of California's big bass factories, Lake Casitas, got some bad news Tuesday evening. The board of the Casitas Municipal Water District voted to close the lake to visiting boaters due to the threat of quagga mussel infestation. Unfortunately, other popular angling destinations in Southern California are likely to follow suit.

Quagga mussels are an invasive species that can cause significant problems for water supply authorities, resulting in costly control measures that are ultimately passed along to their water consumers. These mussels were discovered in Lake Mead and the Colorado River basin in recent years and have finally made their way down the river and through the water conveyance canals to southern California. The closure of Lake Casitas was a knee-jerk, poorly based reaction to the quagga threat. The decision was made in spite of the facts presented by the California Fish and Game Department that water movement, not boaters and anglers, was the primary reason for the rapid spread of the mussels from the Colorado River.

"It is understandable that the Casitas MWD would want to prevent the mussels from entering the lake, but they are going about it the wrong way. Rather than seizing the opportunity to educate anglers and boaters on quagga mussel identification, they have effectively alienated one of their closest allies and one of their best lines of defense," said Chris Horton, BASS Conservation Director.

What is even more frustrating for local anglers is that the California state agencies and the local county and city municipal districts have had ample time to prepare for this potential threat. Unfortunately, nothing was done and now anglers and boaters are paying the price.

BASS and the California BASS Federation Nation, the American Sportfishing Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and various groups within California are working to find solutions to re-open Casitas and stop the domino effect with other popular California lakes. Based on the past history of dealing with California's bureaucracies, it won't be easy.
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