State boat inspections toughened in fight against two mussels
Colorado’s boaters can expect some personal attention this summer as the state expands its program to halt the spread of aquatic nuisances.
In an effort to prevent quagga and zebra mussels from moving around the state, new inspection regulations in force this summer mean more boats will be inspected for the exotic species.
“Mandatory boat inspections have proved successful in other states at stopping the spread of invasive mussels,” said Elizabeth Brown, invasive species coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. “We want to ensure that boats coming from other states are being inspected prior to launching anywhere in Colorado. It’s also extremely important that containment efforts continue on the reservoirs where mussels have already been detected.”
The new regulations were developed by Colorado State Parks, the Division of Wildlife and members of the state’s boating community.
All out-of-state boats as well as in-state boats that are taken out of state and then returned are subject to mandatory state-certified inspections prior to relaunching in any Colorado water.
Also, any boats that have been in any Colorado water where zebra or quagga mussels have been found also must undergo the mandatory inspections.
Boaters passing the state inspections receive a green seal and receipt. These seals and receipts must be in the boater’s possession when launching.
“Boaters should expect to be inspected this year,” said Greg Gerlich, DOW fisheries chief.
“It’s up to each individual boater to make sure they are following the clean, drain and dry protocol. The success of this program relies strongly on the watercraft owners acting responsibly.”
State-certified inspections will be available around the state beginning this month from the Division of Wildlife and at state parks and many county and municipal reservoirs, as well as various private marinas and marine dealers.
State agencies offer free inspections, but fees may apply at private inspection sites.
In addition, the Division of Wildlife will implement “Roving Patrols” that appear at a different site each day. These patrols will offer inspection and decontamination services if needed.
The new regulations limit inspections to trailered watercraft. Hand-launched crafts, including kayaks, rafts, canoes and belly boats, are not considered high risk for spreading aquatic nuisance species and may launch without an inspection.
A list of inspection sites and more information about quagga and zebra mussels are available at all DOW and Colorado State Parks offices and on the DOW Web site at wildlife.state.co.us.