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Four Boats Infested with Quagga Mussels Intercepted at Ruedi Reservoir

Over the past several weeks four boats carrying invasive Quagga Mussels have been intercepted at the Ruedi Reservoir Boat Ramp. Boat Inspection Program staff at the Reservoir recognize the highly destructive animals before the boats were launched and thoroughly decontaminated them. Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel were alerted and helped supervise the decontaminations. The owners of all boats were cooperative. The clean boats were then allowed to enter the Reservoir.

All four boats had come to Ruedi from Lake Powell, which has been infested with mussels for several years.

The aquatic nuisance species (ANS) inspection program began at Ruedi in 2008, but was not fully implemented until 2018, the first year that enough funding was secured to staff the ramp for all
operative hours. No “mussel-boats” were intercepted at Ruedi until 2018 when two boats were identified and decontaminated early in the season.

Quagga Mussels (Dreissena bugensis) are highly invasive small shellfish. They are native to Eurasia and were inadvertently imported to North America on cargo vessels in late 1980’s. Their ability to reproduce prolifically and attach themselves to any solid surface has made them a significant nuisance in infested areas, damaging infrastructure and degrading recreational facilities. Colorado is free of mussels although mussel larvae were found in Green Mountain Reservoir in 2017 (an adult population has not been confirmed). Twenty-six (26) boats were intercepted and decontaminated at Colorado reservoirs in 2017, growing to 51 in 2018, indicating a severely increasing threat. To date in 2019, 37 boats have been intercepted compared to 19 at this time in 2018.

The Boat Inspection Program at Ruedi is sponsored by the Ruedi Water and Power Authority (RWAPA) and is manned by Rocky Mountain Recreation Co. under contract to RWAPA. The Program requires that all boats entering and leaving the Reservoir be inspected prior to launch and prior to departure. The main boat ramp at Ruedi is open for inspection between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM. Open hours will be extended to 10:00 PM during the month of July. The ramp is closed to all boat traffic when inspectors are not on site. The Authority reminds all boaters – “Don’t move a mussel!” – clean, drain and dry boats in between uses and be prepared for boat inspections prior to entering or leaving the Ruedi boat ramp.

For More Information Contact: April Long, RWAPA, 970-901-6082

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