Grand Lake inspectors catch boat potentially contaminated with zebra mussels
A boat readying to launch onto Grand Lake was seized by inspectors Sunday following the discovery of what were suspected to be zebra mussels along its hull.
Mikeleen Reed, a boat inspector with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service, told Sky-Hi News on Monday that the boat, which is now being quarantined, is likely to test positive for the invasive species.
“It would have been disastrous if (the boat) went out,” Reed said.
The mussels were found in an inconspicuous spot near the boat’s pontoons and were very small in size, according to Reed.
Gary Roessler made the finding, and confirmed that the boat did not launch.
“It didn’t get in the water, thank goodness,” he said.
More detailed information will be released in the next day or so, according to Roessler, once test results return from the lab. The boat is currently undergoing decontamination.
The incident marks the second time in two years that zebra mussels have been found on a boat in Grand County. The first instance, in June 2016, was when a boat arrived at the Stillwater boat ramp on Lake Granby with a number of half-inch mussels attached to its hull. That boat was also from Wisconsin, according to Reed.
Zebra mussels are listed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Service as an invasive species because of the threat they pose, both ecologically and financially.
The impacts, according to parks and wildlife, could be devastating and are mainly due to their prolific reproduction, clogging of water infrastructure, extreme difficulty to eradicate and their ability to quickly spread to new waters.
Zebra mussels were first discovered in Colorado in 2008 when positive identifications of juvenile mussels were made in Pueblo Reservoir and Shadow Mountain Reservoir as well as in seven other area water bodies.
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