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

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Sportsmen Since 1967

CO: Diligence Needed to Halt Invasive Species

DENVER – Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife are
continuing efforts to educate boaters, anglers and other
recreationists about the need to clean, drain and dry boats, waders
and other equipment when using Colorado waters.

“We have had success with our boat inspection programs to prevent
invasive species, but there are a few aquatic nuisance species that
can spread via methods other than boats,” said Elizabeth Brown, an
Invasive Species Coordinator with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The
fact that we’re finding new populations means we have to work
harder to engage the public to do their part to clean and dry all
their gear and equipment as well as their boats to protect our
waters.”

Rusty crayfish, discovered in 2009 in the headwaters of the Yampa
River, have been recently confirmed in the reservoir at Stagecoach
State Park, near Steamboat Springs. A July 6 survey found that New
Zealand mudsnails, another aquatic invader, have made their way
from South Delaney Butte Reservoir to nearby East Delaney Butte
Reservoir within the Delaney Buttes State Wildlife Area in North
Park. Colorado Parks and Wildlife monitoring crews have also
recently confirmed New Zealand mudsnails and an aquatic invasive
weed, Eurasian watermilfoil, in the reservoir at Eleven Mile State
Park. Earlier this summer it was announced that quagga mussel
veligers were again confirmed through monitoring at Lake Pueblo
State Park.

The effort to educate recreationists began in earnest in Colorado
in 2004 as both Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of
Wildlife undertook campaigns following the initial discovery of New
Zealand mudsnails in Colorado. The effort intensified in 2007 when
invasive zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Pueblo. With
legislative funding assistance, Colorado State Parks and the
Division of Wildlife rolled out a statewide effort to inspect boats
on major waters in the state and try to prevent the spread of zebra
and quagga mussels and other invasive species. Gov. John
Hickenlooper signed legislation earlier this year that merged
Colorado State Parks and the Division of Wildlife and the separate
programs are being combined with an eye toward identifying
efficiencies that will make the programs more effective.

“Invasive species are very effective at hitching a ride to new
places on everything from boats to waders to hiking boots,”
explained Brown. “Recreationists can stop the spread of these
costly invaders by cleaning their equipment in between each and
every use. The majority of Colorado’s waters are still free of
invasive species and through a comprehensive education program we
hope to keep it that way.”

Some invasive species have shown the ability to live for several
weeks out of the water in nothing more than a crevice or clump of
mud. Invasive species threaten fisheries, ecosystems and water
management equipment. In areas where invasive mussels have become
established they have altered fishing, littered beaches with sharp
shells, clogged pipes and damaged underwater structures.

Boaters can find information about how to protect Colorado waters
from invasive species online at
http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/MandatoryBoatInspections.htm or
http://www.parks.state.co.us/Boating/NewBoatInspection/Pages/BoatInspection.aspx.

The most important thing anglers can do is to remove all mud,
plants and organic material from their waders and equipment after
every use. Anglers are advised to then submerge waders and gear in
a large tub filled with a mixture of half Kitchen Formula 409 and
half water for at least 10 minutes. Debris should be scrubbed from
surfaces and a visual inspection should be done before rinsing.
Items can also be soaked in water greater than 140 degrees
Fahrenheit for a minimum of 10 minutes. Waders or boots can also be
stored in a freezer overnight between each use or can be dried
completely for at least 10 days before using them in another body
of water.

More information is available about New Zealand mud snails at
http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/InvasiveSpecies/NewZealandMudsnail.htm.
Additional information about rusty crayfish, including regulations
prohibiting crayfish movement in western Colorado, can be found
online at
http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/InvasiveSpecies/RustyCrayfish.htm.
Detailed information on zebra and quagga mussels can be found at
http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/InvasiveSpecies/ZebraandQuaggaMussels.htm.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:
http://wildlife.state.co.us.

 

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