With changes to inspection rules, boating season begins Friday at Green Mountain Reservoir | SkyHiNews.com

With changes to inspection rules, boating season begins Friday at Green Mountain Reservoir

The Green Mountain Reservoir is seen from McDonald Flats Campground at sunset Monday evening. The McDonald Flats boat ramp, located five miles southeast of the Heeney Marina, will only open to hard-launched and hand powered watercraft this summer season.

There will be changes to boat inspection rules as boating season begins Friday morning out on Green Mountain Reservoir between Silverthorne and Kremmling.

After the reservoir tested positive last fall for larva of the invasive species “quagga mussel veligers,” inspections and decontaminations for boats entering and leaving the reservoir will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at the Big Green Boat Ramp.

“We suspect the veligers in Green Mountain came from a boat that launched illegally,” said Elizabeth Brown, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Invasive Species Coordinator. “That just shows how important a rigorous inspection program is to help protect all waters, and it shows how critical it is for the public to cooperate and help us protect the resource we all enjoy and need for drinking, irrigation, power generation and recreation.”

After the United States Bureau of Reclamation detected the quagga mussel larva in Green Mountain Reservoir last fall, CPW immediately instituted rapid response, which included increased monitoring. CPW will continue its monthly monitoring of the reservoir this season for all life stages of invasive mussels and other invasive species. And although additional larvae have not been found in subsequent sampling, officials are also collaborating in an attempt to prevent Colorado’s first full-blown infestation in state waters.

 As such, the reservoir’s boat ramps this summer will also be closed when inspectors are not present. And motorized boats will be required to launch from an official inspection station site. Launching motorized boats from other ramps will be prohibited this summer and may also result in a fine.

Then, at a yet-undetermined date in mid-June, the inspection station will relocate from the Big Green Boat Ramp to the Heeney Marina ramp, depending on when water levels rise and when progress on marina improvements are completed. The improvements include construction for additional infrastructure and parking to accommodate the new inspection and containment protocols. The inspection stations will continue to implement containment protocols put in place late last year, which means that every boat has to be inspected when exiting the reservoir and will be issued a seal and blue receipt.

Also this summer, the McDonald Flats boat ramp, located 5 miles southeast of the marina, will only open to hand-launched and hand-powered watercraft.

Then, to end the summer season, the entire reservoir will close to motorized watercraft on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.

“We are asking the public to adhere to the inspection locations and times so we can protect the reservoir,” said Dillon district ranger Bill Jackson. “Get a head start by remembering to clean, drain and dry your equipment before and after use.”

Also this summer season, if a boater leaving the reservoir intends to launch in a different water body, their boat must be decontaminated by a certified professional before launching again.

Because these invasive mussels can infest waters by the billions, the mussels pose a massive financial, recreational and ecological threat to Green Mountain Reservoir and other bodies of water throughout the state. The invasive mussels latch onto almost any surface, eventually encrusting lake bottoms, beaches, buoys, docks and other structures. They also have been known to clog boat motors and plug water distribution systems that are critical for irrigation and energy production. The mussels also can consume nutrients that native fish and other species need to survive.

For more information about how you can help protect Colorado’s bodies of water from invasive species, you can visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife at CPW.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/ISP-ANS.aspx

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