Mail Tribune -
Concerned about aquatic invasive species that have popped up in other lakes across the country, Crater Lake National Park officials have temporarily closed the lake's pristine waters to scuba diving and other water gear uses.
The immediate closure will remain in effect until protocols are established to minimize the risk of contamination from invasive species that include quagga mussels and other species that could reduce the lake's world-renown clarity and purity, officials said.
The protocols, which will require divers to take precautionary measures before diving into the lake, are expected to be in place before the beginning of the 2013 season.
"We have seen the devastation to ecosystems and economies caused by the inadvertent introduction of invasive species from Lake Mead to Lake Erie," observed park superintendent Craig Ackerman.
"We want to prevent it from happening at Crater Lake rather than deal with the aftermath," he added.
"The increasing popularity of the lake for scuba diving also increases the opportunities for divers and their gear to carry microscopic 'hitchhikers' into the water."
Although the invasive species may be small, the damage caused by introducing them into the lake is enormous and often irreversible, he noted.