Let’s Keep Colorado Lakes Clean and Free of Mussels This Summer
In order to keep enjoying our lakes and reservoirs here in Colorado, we need to know how to protect them from invasive species.
According to a press release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado lakes and reservoirs remain free from invasive species but have faced more risk of exposure in recent years.
Colorado's Aquatic Nuisance Species Act
In May 2008, the General Assembly passed the Aquatic Nuisance Species Act which defines ANS as,
exotic or nonnative aquatic wildlife or any plant species that have been determined to pose a significant threat to the aquatic resources or water infrastructure of the state.
In Colorado, it is illegal to, "possess, import, export, ship, transport, release, plant, place, or cause an ANS to be released. "
Yes, even if you did so accidentally.
Finding Invasive Mussells Over the Years in Colorado
Thanks to the diligent efforts of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, our lakes and reservoirs have remained invasive species-free.
Since 2008, 6.1 million boats have been inspected and 172,460 boats have been decontaminated.
However, the risks for contamination are rising as more people travel to visit Colorado's lakes and reservoirs.
In 2017, just 16 boats with mussels were found. In 2019, 86 boats were discovered to be infested with mussels and by 2020 that number reached 100. Last year in 2021, a shocking 181 boats were found carrying mussels.
How to Prevent ANS From Invading Colorado Waters
One of the most important ways that a boater can help protect Colorado waters is to, "clean, drain, and dry" your boat after each use.
Make sure to inspect your boat thoroughly. 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.