The Pueblo West View

Boater inspection closes for season

The effort to stop the spread of harmful Aquatic Nuisance Species continued successfully during the 2013 boating season.

Watercraft inspection and decontaminations stations were available at more than 75 locations across the state this year including 41 Colorado Parks and Wildlife stations.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and their numerous partners performed more than 420,000 inspections in 2013, each of which is an important public educational contact.

“Colorado boaters should be commended for their knowledge and participation in protecting our waters,” said Elizabeth Brown, CPW invasive species coordinator.

“Diligence in cleaning, draining and drying their watercraft between each and every use has directly helped to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.

“We have very few aquatic invaders established in Colorado and have had no new zebra or quagga mussel discoveries since 2008.

“We greatly appreciate our boater’s and angler’s cooperation to keep our waters free of invasive species.”

THE THREAT OF ANS hitchhikers coming into Colorado on watercraft from another state is still quite real.

Quagga or zebra mussels were found on 14 boats this year, which were intercepted and decontaminated prior to entering Colorado waters.

This year four boats were decontaminated at Lake Pueblo State Park, three at the CPW Denver office, two at Horsetooth Reservoir and Carter Reservoir. Blue Mesa/Curecanti National Recreation Area, Vallecito Reservoir, Dillon Marina and Eleven Mile Reservoir each intercepted and decontaminated one boat this year.

The infested watercraft came from Wisconsin (3), Texas (2), Kansas (2), and one from Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

This year’s interceptions bring the total to 64 contaminated boats kept from Colorado waters in the last five years.

ADDITIONALLY, MORE THAN 6,000 watercraft were decontaminated because of standing water in the boat, which can carry the microscopic young mussels and other invasive species.

It is very important that standing water, such as in ballast tanks, bilge areas or live wells be drained from watercraft, or decontaminated, to prevent the spread of microscopic mussel larvae or veligers, plant fragments, diseases and other invasive animals.

“Colorado’s program offers boaters green seals and receipts when exiting waters to expedite the inspection process at the next location, which aides mostly resident boaters moving between prevention waters,” said Gene Seagle, invasive species biologist with CPW.

“Without a green seal and receipt, watercraft with features which are impossible to drain, such as ballast tanks, would otherwise require decontamination.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife places a high importance on preventing and controlling invasive species like the zebra and quagga mussels to protect not only our invaluable wildlife resources, but also our recreation and tourism industry, water storage and distribution systems, agricultural production and the state’s overall economy.

ANS, especially zebra and quagga mussels, can result in severe impacts to water supply and distribution infrastructure for municipal, industrial and agricultural uses.

These ANS species negatively impact fisheries and all forms of water-based recreation.

ANS can cause damage to watercraft, motors and inhibit access opportunities.

The economic impacts associated with mussel invasions can also be devastating.

“Keeping Colorado’s waters free of invasive species is critical to maintaining efficient water delivery and infrastructure systems, and providing high-quality fishing and boating opportunities,” said Brown.

“The program would not be possible without our numerous partners and the support of the boaters and anglers.”

WITH WINTER APPROACHING, many of the state’s reservoirs have closed, or are closing in the coming weeks.

CPW encourages boaters to have their watercraft inspected and green sealed prior to winter storage.

Boaters who receive a green seal and receipt before storing their boat for winter will experience an expedited inspection upon their first launch in 2014.

Inspections and decontaminations are available at the CPW Denver office, 6060 Broadway, year round, as well as several marine dealers and a few water bodies that remain open all year.

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