Colorado State Parks Inspections for Aquatic Nuisance Species
Colorado State Parks
DENVER - The boat inspection program at Colorado State Parks to control the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS), including zebra and quagga mussels, has several new options to make the watercraft launching process more efficient this year.
“Colorado State Parks has taken a leadership position in preventing the spread of ANS and we encourage all boaters to show up ‘clean, drained and dry’ to protect the state’s waterways and boating recreational opportunities,” said Dean Winstanley, director of Colorado State Parks.
There will be boat inspections at 27 Colorado State Parks that have trailered boating in 2009. Inspections will be less time consuming and all parks expect to have efficient traffic flows this year to keep boaters moving. Inspection hours at the following parks are as follows:
Cherry Creek, Chatfield and Boyd Lake State Parks: 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. during the summer boating season. Pre-inspection required for night launches.
Lake Pueblo State Park: 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. during the summer boating season. The boat ramps will be closed at night, but mooring is still permitted.
For information on inspection hours and policies at other parks, check: www.colorado.gov/parks, select a park and look under the park’s information for “Conditions” to find inspection hours and boat ramp information.
For the convenience of boaters who want to launch at night after inspection hours or to avoid any wait during the day, Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) are offering a pre-inspection program.
Boat owners have the option of going to an inspection station at a state park, CDOW site or a state-certified operator, hours or days before entering the water and obtaining a wire seal that will allow them to launch at a state park.
“Boaters will need to obtain an ANS wire seal and receipt to prove they were inspected. At most parks, boaters will fill out a log and place their seals and receipts in a drop box,” said Rob Billerbeck, the biological programs manager for Colorado State Parks.
OUT-OF-STATE BOATS: All boats with out-of-state licenses and vessels that have been used in other states are required by regulations to be inspected prior to launch on any Colorado waterway.
After inspection, wire seals and receipts will be given out upon exiting state parks or at CDOW courtesy inspection stations. The seals and receipts will serve as proof of inspection.
Boats can also be inspected at many marine dealers and private inspection stations, which will be provide the seals and receipts as proof of inspection. For a complete list of inspection stations, visit www.colorado.gov/wildlife.
LIVE BAIT: To prevent anglers from using live bait containing ANS:
Live bait is prohibited west of the Continental Divide, except at Navajo Reservoir, and east of the Continental Divide above 7,000 feet.
In areas where live bait is allowed, boaters must show a receipt that the bait was purchased within seven days of use from a Colorado bait dealer, or else their bait will be transferred, using a net, to a clean container and their live well decontaminated.
Fishermen should not collect and transfer live bait from a reservoir where mussel larvae have been found.
Fisherman using live bait should always minimize the transfer of water with bait between reservoirs. Netting bait and transferring to a clean container with distilled water will minimize risks of ANS transfer.
In 2008, ANS inspectors at 24 Colorado State Parks inspected over 114,000 boats. In 2009, the expanded program will inspect over 200,000 boats at 27 state parks. In addition, over 100,000 ANS brochures will be distributed and over 100,000 letters with information about ANS will be mailed to every registered boater in Colorado.
ANS have spread rapidly from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and into the western United States, damaging beaches, aquatic life, municipal water systems and hydroelectric facilities. There is no way to destroy ANS without significant environmental damage. Colorado and other states have implemented vigorous inspection programs to control the spread.
To protect Colorado waters, Colorado State Parks encourages all boaters to take a few simple, precautionary steps every time they go to a lake, river or reservoir. Before leaving a lake or other waterway, boaters should:
DRAIN the water from the boat, live well and lower unit of the engine.
INSPECT all exposed surfaces.
REMOVE all plant and animal material.
CLEAN the hull of your boat.
DRY the boat, fishing gear, and equipment.