Ruedi Reservoir boat ramp opens for the season
The Ruedi Reservoir boat ramp opened Tuesday for the season but the surrounding campgrounds will remain closed until May 18, the U.S. Forest Service announced.
The Forest Service is teaming with the Ruedi Water and Power Authority and Colorado Parks and Wildlife again this year to inspect motorized boats for invasive species prior to launch.
Aquatic Nuisance Species such as quagga mussels and zebra mussels pose a “massive financial, recreational and ecological threat to waterways throughout the state,” the Forest Service said in a statement. The invasive species latch onto almost every surface and can encrust lake bottoms, clog boat motors and water distribution systems. There is no known method of eradication.
Ruedi Reservoir had been deemed at moderate risk of infestation but Lake Powell has tested positive for mussels. Many boaters use both reservoirs, so the risk has been deemed greater at Ruedi.
“We want to provide a great experience for boaters and anglers using Ruedi Reservoir while also ensuring that Aquatic Nuisance Species do not take hold and cause irreversible damage to our waterways,” Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Karen Schroyer said in the statement. “We appreciate the public’s help keeping Ruedi free of these destructive species by cooperating with inspection regulations.”
The boat ramp will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 18, then hours will expand from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 19 through Oct. 31. Access down the concrete boat ramp will be limited to times when the boat inspection station is open. Boaters who return to the ramp after the gate is locked in the evening will have to anchor their watercraft or tie it to the boat dock and return when the station is open.
Canoes and kayaks are not required to undergo inspections.
All boaters and anglers can keep waterways free of Aquatic Nuisance Species by following the “Clean, Drain, Dry” principles when entering and leaving waterways. Clean all mud, plant and animal material from boats, trailers, boots, gear and equipment.
Drain all water from bilges, live wells and ballast tanks.
Dry all equipment completely before entering a new body of water.
Ruedi Reservoir is currently about 66 percent full. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation increased the outflow of water on Tuesday from 65 to 110 cubic feet per second.
The reservoir typically fills around July 4. A spokesman for the reclamation bureau couldn’t be reached Tuesday to see if that is the expectation this year.