Eleven Mile Reservoir delays opening for boating
LAKE GEORGE, Colo.—Boating at Eleven Mile State Park will have a delayed opening while Colorado State Parks and Denver Water work together to put in place boater education and inspections of all trailered watercraft for zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.
Zebra mussels were found in Pueblo Reservoir in late 2007. Zebra mussels are small mollusks which can attach themselves to boats. They have tremendous reproductive capability (up to a million eggs each year) and produce microscopic larvae (veligers) that can be easily transported in any water holding compartment of vessels, trailers and equipment. It is still unclear how the organism will behave in our high altitude, cold water environments.
Zebra mussels can have major negative impacts to some fish species as well as to the aquatic ecosystems. Because these invasive mussels attach to any hard surface, they can affect canals, aqueducts, water intakes and dams, resulting in increased maintenance costs for those facilities. These mussels can settle in massive colonies blocking water intake and affect municipal water supply, agricultural irrigation and power plant operation. In infested waters, they impact beach recreation with their sharp shells and foul smell.
According to park manager Kevin Tobey, “Lake Pueblo is the only location in Colorado where zebra mussels have been found to date. Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs sit near the top of the South Platte watershed, and we want to make sure that we use the best practices from other states to keep zebra mussels out of these reservoirs since the stakes for recreation, wildlife and public drinking water supplies are so high.”
Tobey added, “We are already inspecting all boats entering Spinney Mountain State Park located just west of Eleven Mile and hope to have a similar inspection program at Eleven Mile very soon. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding while we get our inspection program in place. We want to get boats on the reservoir as soon as possible. For the most up-to-date information, we encourage people to visit our website at www.parks.state.co.us/ElevenMile or call the park office at (719) 748-3401.
To protect Colorado waters from aquatic invasive species (AIS), Colorado State Parks encourages all boaters to take a few simple, precautionary steps – to CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY their boats - every time they go to a lake, river or stream.
Before leaving a lake or other waterway, boaters should:
• DRAIN the water from the boat including bilge water, ballast water and live well.
• INSPECT all exposed surfaces.
• REMOVE all plant and animal material.
• CLEAN the hull of your boat.
• DRY the boat, fishing gear, and equipment.
Attracting more than 11 million visitors per year, Colorado's 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone in Colorado's economy and quality of life, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks manages more than 4,000 campsites, 57 cabins and yurts, encompassing 246,000 land and water acres.