A State and Federal initiative to gather more information on the presence of invasive mussels in Colorado confirmed the detection of quagga mussel larvae in Lake Granby in July. Quagga mussels are very similar to the zebra mussels that were found last fall in Pueblo Reservoir.
Veligers, the larval stage of the quagga mussel, were initially identified by a microscopic analysis of water samples and subsequently confirmed by DNA testing. An additional independent lab confirmed the presence of quagga mussel DNA in the samples.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District are cooperating with partners on the development of an appropriate plan for each of the Colorado-Big Thompson reservoirs.
Public awareness and participation is the best weapon in the containment of invasive species. Invasive mussels endanger water quality, and fisheries. Boaters at Lake Granby are reminded to take the simple precaution of making sure that they Clean, Drain, and Dry their boat when they leave the lake.
Quagga and zebra mussels spread from Eurasia to the Northeast and Great Lakes in contaminated ballast water of boats, on anchors and anchor lines. They quickly spread to the Mississippi River, its tributaries and inland lakes and have now established a presence in the Western States.
Quagga and zebra mussels are small barnacle-like mollusks with dark and light colored stripes. They smother aquatic organisms, such as crayfish and native clams and out compete for food and aquatic habitat. They damage equipment by attaching to boat motors or hard surfaces and clog water treatment facilities.
Boaters should be prepared to have their boats inspected prior to launching at some of the reservoirs they are visiting. It is always a good idea to check with the managing entity at the reservoir you would like to visit to see what their boating regulations are and receive updates on local conditions.
For more information about zebra and quagga mussels visit www.wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/InvasiveSpecies/ZebraandQuaggaMussels.htm