Once again, the Whatcom County Council has heard from some people regarding a boat ban on Lake Whatcom, wake boats in particular. Here's a copy of the letter I wrote to the Council in that regard:
Prior to the AIS program, a survey (inspection) was taken of one thousand boats entering Lake Whatcom via Bloedel-Donovan Park. I'm sorry, I don't have the exact date of this, but I do remember the results: of the one thousand boats inspected, three were found to contain invasive species plant life in their bilges. All three boats had previously been to Lake Osooyoos, and all three boats were wake boats.
As a result of this finding, the AIS program was established. At the onset, I suggested that, rather than start an expensive program due to finding .003% of the inspected boats with AIS plant life, why not ban the type of boats in which 100% of the AIS was found?
I fish Lake Whatcom often, and my boat has been swamped twice by wake boats passing me while I was stationary. Some of the boats have sound systems which blare everything from rap to country/western..
I know that some of my boating friends consider a potential wake boat ban to be the next of a continuing domino affect--two-stroke ban (a water quality ordinance based on an EPA air quality rule), AIS inspections, now a possible ban on wake boats--but I'm also aware of the shoreline damage that these boats cause, plus the potential to bring contaminants into the lake via their bilges.
Years ago, some friends and I scoped the lake bottom in Basin One with an underwater camera. Some areas looked like a junk yard. We found old oil drums, cables, sunken boats, bikes lawn furniture, a collapsed railroad trestle, and lots of assorted debris. Personally, I feel there are already more potential environmental hazards in the lake now than what can be introduced by motorized craft.
Some of the shoreline homes have concrete bulkheads installed with drain tiles that empty into the lake, some have cracks that allow storm water to gush through during rains like we're experiencing now. Some have paved ramps leading into the lake, especially on the Lake Whatcom Boulevard side, that directs storm water from the the street down the driveways, down the ramps into the lake. Again, the pollutants left from vehicle traffic and soil treatments from lawns and gardens have direct pathways into the lake. I know there are phosphate fertilizer bans in place (some of which are being ignored by residents), but there are no bans on the use of Roundup, Preen, Weed and Feed, Diazanon, and other chemicals used locally, and traces of these products have been found throughout the lake.
I realize that powered craft are quite visible, which makes them targets, and some of the operators of those craft are less than cautious. But banning all motorized craft from the lake will do little to fix any environmental problems; in fact the very EPA document on which the current two-stroke ban is based states that any discharge from the motors dissipate within an hour or less (yes, I read the 75-page document and I would encourage members to read it as well. It is flimsy at best)..
I know there will be resistance to any decision you make, but I do hope you take into consideration the number of boat operators who fish, ski, and generally enjoy the experience, plus businesses such as Yeager's, Dave's Sporting Goods, West Marine, Clear Water and Leeper's which would be affected by your actions.