Four boats carrying invasive quagga mussels have been intercepted at Ruedi Reservoir.
The mussels were recognized by Ruedi Boat Inspection Program staff, according to a press release sent out by the Ruedi Water and Power Authority. All four boats had come from Lake Powell and Colorado Parks and Wildlife were alerted to supervise decontamination of the boats. The owners of all boats were cooperative, according to the release, and the vessels were allowed to enter the reservoir after being decontaminated.
Lake Powell has been infested with quagga mussels for several years. The mussels are native to Eurasia and were inadvertently imported to North America in the 1980s, according to the release, and “their ability to reproduce prolifically and attach themselves to any solid surface has made them a significant nuisance in infested areas, damaging infrastructure and degrading recreational facilities.”
Colorado is free of the mussels thanks to inspections prior to boats entering the water at reservoirs. Fifty-one infested boats were intercepted in 2018 and 37 have already been intercepted in 2019, compared to 19 at this time in 2018.
An aquatic nuisance species inspection program was launched at Ruedi in 2008 but was not fully implemented until 2018, according to the release. The program is sponsored by the Ruedi Water and Power Authority and is manned by Rocky Mountain Recreation Co. under contract to RWAPA. Under the program, all boats entering the reservoir must be inspected prior to launch and prior to departure. The main boat ramp at Ruedi is open for inspection between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., according to the release, and open hours will be extended to 10:00 p.m. during the month of July.
The Authority reminds all boaters “Don’t move a mussel!” and to clean, drain and dry boats in between uses and be prepared for boat inspections prior to entering or leaving the Ruedi boat ramp.