Boater inspection sites close 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.
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. 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.
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.
“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.”
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Members of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission as well as the public are invited to attend CPW’s second online educational session related to wolf reintroduction efforts 6-8 p.m. Thursday.