Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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CO: Monitoring finds mussels persist in Pueblo Reservoir

DENVER – Recent testing has confirmed the ongoing presence of
quagga mussel veligers at the reservoir at Lake Pueblo State Park.
Although no fully developed mussels have been found at the
reservoir, the presence of veligers, the microscopic offspring of
adult mussels, does indicate that mussel reproduction is

Testing originally found a zebra mussel veliger in Pueblo
Reservoir in 2007. Monitoring also detected both quagga and zebra
veligers in 2008 and 2009. No veligers were found in 2010. The most
recent quagga mussel veliger was collected during routine sampling
in May and was confirmed by microscopy and DNA testing conducted by
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The results were reported to
Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists on July 6.

Colorado’s early detection program is designed to find juvenile,
free-floating, veligers in the water before adult populations
become apparent. Reservoirs in other states have shown that it may
take many years for an invasive mussel population to establish a
large reproducing adult colony. Lake Cheney in Kansas had a
positive veliger detection followed by several years of negative
results, before the population size was large enough to appear on
the shorelines.

“Our annual monitoring program confirms that the invasive
mussels are persistent in Lake Pueblo,” said Elizabeth Brown,
invasive species coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“Through the mandatory boat inspection program, we will continue to
stress that boaters clean and fully drain their boats before
leaving Lake Pueblo State Park to help limit the spread of these

Like all of the popular boating waters in the state, Lake Pueblo
State Park has a thorough inspection process for boats that enter
the reservoir. Because of the presence of quagga and zebra mussel
veligers at Lake Pueblo State Park, boat owners are also required
to have their boats inspected and possibly decontaminated on exit
from Pueblo Reservoir.

All boats that have launched on any Colorado lake or reservoir
where mussels have been detected, including Lake Pueblo, are
required to pass an inspection before launching at a new location.
In addition, out-of-state boats and resident boats that go
out-of-state and return to Colorado must pass a state-certified
inspection for aquatic nuisance species prior to launching in any
Colorado lake, reservoir or waterway.

“Mandatory boat inspections have proved successful in other
states at stopping the spread of invasive mussels,” said Gene
Seagle, invasive species coordinator for Colorado Parks and
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.”

Inspection facilities also check trailered watercraft at 27
other state parks and 84 other locations outside of the state parks
system. Boaters can also get boats pre-inspected and green sealed
at Parks and Wildlife offices in Denver at 6060 Broadway, Grand
Junction at 711 Independent and in Hot Sulphur Springs at 346 Grand
County Road 362. Hours and days of operation at inspection stations
vary so boaters should check times and dates in advance at or
by visiting an individual state park page at

In addition to the state’s inspection and decontamination
program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will continue its effort to
educate boaters to stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species in
the state. A series of short, easy to understand videos on how
boaters can prepare for inspections is available at under the “Boating” tab. Boat owners can find
more information about preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance
species at

“Educating boaters about mussels and how to inspect their own
vessels is an important part of our effort to prevent the further
spread,” said Brad Henley, Park Manager at Lake Pueblo State Park.
“We greatly appreciate the continued support and cooperation of the
boating public.”

Quagga and zebra mussels are non-native species introduced to
the Great Lakes in the 1970’s, probably through the ballast water
from an eastern European port where the mussels are native. In the
last 23 years, the mussels have spread from the Great Lakes to the
Gulf of Mexico and into the western United States, damaging
beaches, aquatic life, municipal water systems and hydroelectric
facilities. There is currently no known way to rid a water of the
mussels without significant environmental damage, so prevention is
the best alternative. The fingernail-sized mussels attach to anchor
lines and boat hulls and their microscopic veliger young can be
transported in any water transported on a boat or in a bait

Aquatic nuisance species, such as zebra and quagga mussels,
rusty crayfish, New Zealand mud snails and numerous invasive water
plants and weeds can create a number of ecological and economic
problems due to their rapid reproduction. Because invasive mussels
attach to hard surfaces like concrete and pipes, they can clog
pipelines at reservoirs and lakes, boat engines, fish ladders,
hydropower turbines and municipal water delivery systems.

To protect Colorado waters, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
encourages all boaters to take a few simple, precautionary steps
every time they go to a lake, river or reservoir. Before leaving a
lake or other waterway, boaters should:

DRAIN the water from the boat, live well and lower unit of the

INSPECT all exposed surfaces.

REMOVE all mud, plant and animal material.

CLEAN the hull of the boat.

DRY the boat, fishing gear, and equipment.


For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:


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