Attention Boaters: Help Save Colorado Lakes
Help stop invasive species in Colorado
by attending the 2018 Denver Boat Show
DENVER, Colo. – Every ticket sold to this year’s Denver Boat Show will also contribute directly to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife invasive species program, thanks to CPW’s partnership with the Colorado Marine Dealers Association. Colorado’s largest boat show takes place January 12 – 14 at the Colorado Convention Center.
“Safety is key to enjoying Colorado’s many fantastic water opportunities,” said Grant Brown, CPW’s Colorado boating program manager. “We at Colorado Parks and Wildlife are excited to promote boating safety and the importance of preserving water recreation and infrastructure through the invasive species program at the Denver Boat Show.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is an exhibitor at the show. The CPW booth will showcase boat safety and the invasive species program. Highlights include cameos by Talon the red-tailed hawk mascot, information about watercraft inspection and decontamination, an iron-on t-shirt coloring station, free giveaways and boat safety class information. For more information, visit CPW’s website at http://cpw.state.co.us//Pages/BoatShow.aspx.
While it’s difficult to tell the difference between zebra and quagga mussels visually, there are some distinct differences. In addition to tolerating a wider range of temperatures and depths, quagga mussels also have rounder sides than zebra mussels. Quaggas have a convex underside, that actually curves inward, while zebra mussels have quite flat undersides. An experiment you can try to help you identify which mussel you have – try to balance the mussel on its side. If it while lay on it’s side, it’s like a zebra mussel (that has the characteristically flat underside). If the mussel keeps falling over and will not balance, it’s likely a quagga. Quagga mussels have gone from a relatively rare fine to the dominant invasive mussel in Lake Michigan. They could prove to be much more disruptive than zebra mussels because they are more effective filter feeders, and they can live and breed in colder, deeper waters. Quagga – rounder sides & convex underside. ZM – triangular shape & flat underside.”Preventing the introduction and spread of zebra and quagga mussels and other invasive species is critical to providing outstanding water-based recreation in Colorado,” said Elizabeth Brown, CPW invasive species program coordinator. “We are grateful for the support of boaters and the Colorado Marine Dealers Association for their continued participation in the program.”
CPW’s invasive species program has been very successful preventing infestations of invasive species ranging from zebra and quagga mussels to noxious weeds in bodies of water in Colorado. Aquatic invasive species negatively impact the aquatic ecosystem, fisheries, water-based recreation, and water supply and distribution systems for municipal, industrial and agricultural supply. The invasive species program lacks funding and needs the support of Colorado boaters and anglers who enjoy and benefit from clean water in Colorado. Learn more at the CPW website.
Boaters coming from other states with mussel infested waters threaten Colorado
The aggressive aquatic nuisance species inspection program operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife has been successful in keeping quagga and zebra mussels out of the state. Waters in several surrounding states, however, are infested with mussels and that is a serious problem for Colorado.
So far this spring, boats brought into Colorado from Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Utah have been found to be infested with mussels. Boaters are warned that it is against the law to enter Colorado with a boat that holds any aquatic nuisance species.
State law requires all boats coming in from out-of-state to be inspected prior to launching in a Colorado lake or reservoir, and prohibits the possession of aquatic nuisance species such as zebra or quagga mussels. Owners can be fined and their watercraft impounded if they bring an infested boat into the state.
Because of its proximity and its popularity, Lake Powell is a particular concern for Colorado. Many people keep their boats at Lake Powell for part of the year and then come to cool Colorado for the summer months. Some Colorado boaters also go to Lake Powell for long weekends and return home to boat in local reservoirs during the week.
Mussels can survive for months in wet environments in a boat, including in and on wells, bilges, equipment lockers, anchors, engines and any type of boating equipment.
Nearby states with severe mussel infestations include: Arizona, California, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah. In addition, waters in almost all states in the Midwest, on the east coast and in the south are infested with mussels.
“If your boat has been launched in any other state you must submit to a professional inspection and decontamination prior to returning to Colorado,” said Brian Sandy, manager at Navajo State Park in southwest Colorado. “And all boats, regardless of where they are coming from, must be cleaned, drained and dry in between each use.”
If you have taken your boat out of the water from a mussel-positive state in the last year, remove all vegetation and mud from the boat, trailer, all equipment and lines, and remove the drain plug. Before taking your boat to any water in Colorado, be sure it has been cleaned, drained and dried – even if it’s never left the state.
Colorado boaters are also warned about buying boats, engines and equipment from out-of-state. A Colorado man recently bought an engine he saw advertised on an Internet site that had been used at Lake Powell. Fortunately, he was concerned and informed Colorado inspectors at McPhee Reservoir who subsequently found mussels in the engine.
“We very much appreciate the public’s help in battling the mussel problem. This is an issue that is not going away and we need the public’s full cooperation to keep mussels out of Colorado. Anyone who has concerns about their boat or someone else’s should alert Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” Sandy said.
For more information and for a list of all inspection stations in Colorado, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, cpw.co.us.