Don’t move those mussels
Barring some nasty weather, the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend marks the first time of the year many boaters will crank up their vessels and cruise and fish the waters of Ruedi Reservoir.
But before the fun begins, boaters should expect periodic inspections of their watercraft for invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels.
The spread of mussel eggs and larva happen unbeknownst to many boaters, which is why this summer the Colorado Division of Wildlife is doing full-blown inspections at some sites and limited ones at others, such as Ruedi, located east of Basalt up the Fryingpan River.
Early last year the mussels popped up in Lake Pueblo, and eventually emerged in six other Colorado lakes. These mussels pose all types of problems by multiplying rapidly and clogging pumps, pipes and outdoor motors, and upsetting ecosystems as well.
These pesky mussels don’t pose the same threat to Ruedi’s waters as other lakes and reservoirs in Colorado, mainly because of less boat traffic, but it is still a good time to take preventive measures to keep it that way.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks have launched a statewide campaign to keep the mussels from spreading, with public awareness being their chief goal.
Among the advice to users of trail-hitched watercraft (rafts, canoes, kayaks and other modes are not considered a high risk for spreading the mussels) are as follows, as outlined on the DOW’s website:
– Clean the hull of the vessel.
– Drain the water from the vessel, live well and lower unit of the engine.
– Dry the vessel, fishing gear and other equipment.
– Inspect all exposed surfaces.
– Remove all plant and animal material.
It would behoove boaters to heed the suggestions from the state. It will make the state’s reservoirs and lakes less prone to these invasive mussels, not to mention a more enjoyable summer for water lovers around the state.
It’s almost time to ring in the new year and if your holiday schedule is shaping up to be as packed as mine, I wish you a well-deserved rest in 2024. In the meantime, it’s our chance to party, and party we shall.