After a one-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ruedi Reservoir boat ramp — along with watercraft inspection and decontamination for aquatic nuisance — opens at 6 a.m. on Monday.
“The inspections and decontaminations are required to protect the reservoir from the invasion of destructive species such as zebra and quagga mussels,” says a press release issued Thursday by the Ruedi Water and Power Authority.
Last season, six mussel-infested boats were identified and decontaminated through the Ruedi Boat Inspection Program. That was the second-most amount ever found in Colorado, and the most intercepted at Ruedi Reservoir in a single season.
It’s believed that most of the infected boats had come from Lake Powell, which is infested with quagga mussels, according to the authority’s director, April Long.
All boats entering and leaving Ruedi must be inspected prior to launch and prior to departure to comply with state regulations. Vessels also require a stamp from Colorado Parks and Wildlife; details can be found on CPW’s website.
A $200,000 grant from the Bureau of Reclamation to help fund capital improvements for the inspection program at Ruedi’s boat ramp was recently approved, according to Long. RWAPA will administer and oversee the construction contract.
According to Shelly Grail of the White River National Forest, “Reconfiguration of the boat ramp would not begin until 2021. Planning, engineering design and any needed permitting would occur primarily during 2020.”
Public boat ramp hours for the 2020 season are as follows: June 1-30, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; July 1 to Sept. 7, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sept. 8 to Oct. 31, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Though the boat ramp officially opens Monday, people have been fishing from the shore and from kayaks, according to Long.
Ken Krehbiel of Carbondale caught a monster lake trout that became the talk of Facebook recently. Krehbiel, who could not be reached for comment, wrote that it could possibly have been a state record contender.
“So nice to know we have such a healthy body of water for these Goliaths to grow to this size,” he wrote on Facebook.
Long said that the goal of the boat inspection program is to maintain a healthy fish population like the one that produced Krehbiel’s catch.
“It is to prevent infestation of the habitat. Otherwise fish like this wouldn’t survive,” she said.
The inspection program at Ruedi is sponsored by RWAPA in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation. Ruedi’s decontamination station is operated by Rocky Mountain Recreation Co. under contract to RWAPA.
The authority said that while recreating near the reservoir, Eagle County and White River National Forest public health orders must be followed.
“At this time, those orders include staying at home if showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and maintaining distance from those not in the same family,” Thursday’s press release notes.
“Inspectors request patience from the public as protocols and other COVID-19-related issues may cause slight increases in inspection and decontamination times,” it adds.
Boating guidance from CPW includes: wearing a mask while at the inspection station and when social distancing can’t be maintained; avoiding boating with anyone who doesn’t reside in your household, cleaning boat and trailer surfaces; and staying home if you are sick.