Boating moratorium to be lifted

January 07, 1993|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Staff Writer

Satisfied that the spread of zebra mussels can be controlled through less-restrictive measures, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday that the city will lift the boating moratorium on three city reservoirs in March.

The moratorium was imposed last April to protect the city water supply from zebra mussel infestation. Zebra mussels are small organisms that multiply quickly and can clog pipes and cause millions of dollars worth of damage.

The moratorium angered recreational boaters and sportsmen who enjoyed angling for bass, rockfish, perch and catfish on the three city reservoirs: Liberty, Loch Raven and Pretty Boy. But city officials considered the precaution necessary to avert the spread of zebra mussels, which can cling to boat bottoms.

But public works officials are now convinced that the spread of the mussels can be controlled through less onerous restrictions. Among them:

* Applicants for permits to boat on the reservoirs will be required to sign an affidavit saying the boats they use on the three city reservoirs won't be used in other bodies of water.

* Permits will not be issued for boats with gasoline powered motors.

* Permits will not be issued for boats longer than 18 feet.

* The use of live aquatic bait will be prohibited.

License renewals to the 1,800 boaters who previously held permits will take place the week of Feb. 15. Permits will be issued to the public the following week.

While the city is lifting the ban, Mr. Schmoke said, the policy will be reviewed after the 1993 boating season, which ends Nov. 30.

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