Officials ramp up efforts to protect Grand County waters from invasive species
New traffic gates and spike strips have gone up at Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Reservoir as part of a collaborative effort to protect Grand County’s lakes and waterways from invasive species.
The new measures were installed at the U.S. Forest Service’s Green Ridge, Stillwater and Sunset boat ramps through an interagency agreement that provided nearly $124,000 to ensure motorized boats are inspected for nuisance species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, before entering the water.
According to wildlife officials, destructive non-native species have invaded waterways from the Great Lakes to Lake Powell and had catastrophic impacts on ecosystems, clogging intakes and pipes, encrusting docks and beaches, and competing with native species for resources.
What’s worse is trailered boats can carry the mussels to new areas when they leave impacted waterways without being properly cleaned.
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Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs have remained free of invasive adult mussels, but quagga mussel larvae were discovered in Green Mountain Reservoir in 2017, which led cooperating agencies responsible for managing the Arapaho National Recreation Area’s lakes and infrastructure to ramp up efforts.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Sulphur Ranger District manages recreation on and around the Arapaho National Recreation Area, including the public boat ramps, picnic areas and campgrounds, as well as cultural and natural resources across the entire recreation area.
The Bureau of Reclamation runs the reservoir infrastructure that provides water and electricity to communities across Colorado, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is responsible for licensing boats and fishing, as well as protecting Colorado’s waterways from invasive species.
As part of this effort, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has inspectors at designated boat ramps during the boating season from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Designated boat launches include Green Ridge, Sunset and Stillwater as well as Indian Peaks Marina, Highland Marina, Trail Ridge Marina and Beacon Landing Marina.
When inspectors aren’t present, boaters can now leave the water via the newly constructed one-way exit public boat ramps while the new traffic control gates prevent boats from entering the water after hours.
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