All waters in state free of invasive mussels, CPW says |

All waters in state free of invasive mussels, CPW says

Sky-Hi News staff report

More boats requiring decontamination because of infestations of destructive mussels entered Colorado in 2020, but the statewide inspection program coordinated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife is helping keep them out of the state’s lakes and reservoirs.

According to CPW, all waters in the state are now officially free of evidence of mussels, thanks to the Aquatic Nuisance Species prevention program.

In 2017, veligers found at Green Mountain Reservoir showed that mussels might exist there. Veligers are the microscopic larval stage of quagga mussels, but three years of subsequent water testing at Green Mountain Reservior were negative for mussel species.

Mussels are destructive to aquatic habitat, can seriously damage reservoir infrastructure and cause problems for boats, CPW said.

Through the prevention program, CPW conducted 647,325 inspections last year and decontaminated 24,771 boats suspected of carrying mussels, other aquatic invasive species or standing water, a 34% increase from 2019.

Most concerning is the continued increase in the number of boats fouled with mussels. In 2019, 86 boats were found to be fouled with invasive mussels and in 2020 that number jumped to 100. Only 16 boats with mussels were found in 2017.

Some of the increase in inspections can be attributed to the large influx of outdoor recreation Colorado has experienced since the start of the pandemic.

Boat owners are reminded to “clean, drain and dry” boats after every use. Boaters should also inspect their trailers and look in hard-to-reach spots on boats and engines for evidence of mussels.

Anyone who has used a boat in waters outside of Colorado should tell boat inspectors. Boat owners can also call any state park or wildlife office if they have questions or concerns.

For more information about aquatic nuisance species and CPW’s program, visit or read the Boater’s Guide to ANS Inspections.

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