State of the Lake
by Ed Jefferson, WLMA President
I am honored to have been elected President of Westlake Management Association (WLMA) by the Board of Directors, and to have the opportunity to serve and contribute in this capacity. I would like to thank all Board of Director members, and especially committee chair people and past WLMA presidents who continue to serve on the board. These individuals come from very divergent business and professional backgrounds, but all contribute many hours of voluntary service and share a deep passion and commitment to improving the health and beauty of our complex lake environment. There are 33 board members from the WLMA owner-members in the seven residential Districts and the Landing around the lake and each contributes in his own unique way, and we are fortunate to be able to access the talents and experience of financial experts, accountants, attorneys, business people, and other professional backgrounds. Their common motivation is to make our Lake a better place to live and play.
Our superb WLMA staff is indispensable. Lake Manager, Carl Koenig, has many varied duties requiring all of the skills of his engineer’s background. His knowledge of the lake and its requirements are truly impressive. Anna Molina, WLMA office manager, in her 19th year of service, has a thorough knowledge of WLMA rules, regulations, and procedures which she dispenses in response to many daily phone calls and in person inquiries with uncommon diplomacy and patience. Our very experienced and skilled lake maintenance crew cleans our lake seven days a week to control the ever present aquatic weeds, remove debris, and in general, keeps the lake clean and beautiful. Lake patrol serves seven days and nights a week to insure that we can all enjoy the lake in peace and safety which is sometimes challenging given the mix of fishermen, kayakers, and pleasure boaters. It is their responsibility to report violations to WLMA and when necessary call for the appropriate emergency or police response.
In addition to our own staff, several vital independent contractors serve WLMA with uncommon professionalism, dedication, and skill. Kathy Emmons from The Emmons Company is exceptionally capable, and provides excellent accounting and management services. I have had experience with other companies that provide HOA management. Without a doubt Kathy and the Emmons Company are the best. Allyn Moskowitz, CPA, Inc. does an excellent job of outside accounting and Complex Solutions does an annual reserve study for WLMA. Conejo Crest Landscaping maintains our greenbelts and other common area property. Genterra Engineering Company regularly monitors the dam and reports their findings to the State Department of Dam Safety annually. Starlite Electric and others provide electrical services as needed. Outside attorney, Kip Patterson, provides an array of legal services which can be complicated and involves responding to various governmental regulations and other matters with many unexpected challenges. He is a skilled counselor and negotiator for WLMA.
We recently engaged Clean Lakes, Inc. to provide the technical expertise to keep the lake clean and in proper ecological balance. This involves controlling algae and aquatic weeds, which have the potential to literally strangle the lake, controlling those pesky midges, and maintaining our fishery and avian populations. They also regularly perform laboratory analysis of chemical, bacterial, algae levels, and other potential contaminants, and submit the required annual water quality testing report to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LA RWQCB). Clean Lakes, which is located in Westlake Village, is a good choice to do this work for WLMA. It is very helpful to WLMA that they also monitor Lake Sherwood, and have been selected by Cities of Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village to monitor runoff into Malibu Creek assuring compliance with new Clean Water Act regulations. In the future WLMA will be required to participate in this program.
Of course our management team continues unabated efforts to insure that Quagga Mussels never gain entry into our lake by carefully controlling access to the lake for all boats, kayaks, trailers, or any other floating device. Even fishing gear represents a potential source of contamination. Everyone with an interest in the lake should be observant and report any suspected violation of our protocols to WLMA Lake Patrol (818-889-5377).
With no El Nino relief this year, water availability is one of our most challenging issues. The drought continues into the fifth year, and long range weather forecasts indicate that 2017 is likely to be a La Nina year which is usually associated with drought. The Board and Water/Well Committee are pursuing some creative solutions, and the recently drilled Well-4 should be working by the time of highest water need. Putting this well into service has been delayed by numerous issues, including responding to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board requirements and regulations for the Clean Water Act, engineering and design approval by various government agencies, and Southern California Edison. Our water quality easily passed all requirements for the LA RWQCB, but it was a very lengthy process. Rest assured that every effort will be made to keep the lake water level as near the top of the dam as possible.
This tedious recounting of vendors and activities is only a partial list, but illustrates that our lake manager, Board, various committees of the Board, and Executive Committee have demanding jobs that involve many hours of effort. In deed managing the lake with its two and a half million budget is comparable to managing a small city.
It is very impressive that we have so many in our community who willingly volunteer so many hours to maintain and enhance the natural ecological balance and natural beauty that envelopes our precious little corner of the world. We are very thankful to everyone who pitches in to help make our community such a uniquely special place to live and work.