In partnership with the Ruedi Water and Power Authority and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Ruedi Reservoir boat ramp opened Wednesday for the 2019 season. As in years past, motorized boats are required to undergo inspections prior to launch to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species into the waterway.

This year, the boat inspections will take place through Oct. 31.

The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 19; 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 20 through June 30; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 1-Sept. 2; and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 3-Oct. 31.

Aquatic nuisance species such as quagga mussels and zebra mussels pose a massive financial, recreational, and ecological threat to waterways throughout the state. The pests latch onto almost any surface, eventually encrusting lake bottoms, and clogging boat motors and water-distribution systems critical for irrigation and energy production. There are no known methods or treatments for their eradication.

In the past, Ruedi was considered a moderate risk for invasive mussel infestation, but many who boat at Ruedi also take their boats to Lake Powell each year, a press release says. Lake Powell has tested positive for mussels, elevating the risk at Ruedi. In 2018, two boats were decontaminated at Ruedi after mussels were found on them. Both boats had been on Lake Powell before coming to Ruedi.

“We want to provide a great experience for boaters and anglers using Ruedi Reservoir while also ensuring that aquatic nuisance species do not take hold and cause irreversible damage to our waterways,” said Aspen-Sopris District ranger Karen Schroyer. “We appreciate the public’s help keeping Ruedi free of these destructive species by cooperating with inspection regulations.”

Access down the concrete boat ramp will be limited to times when the boat inspection station is open. Boaters who return to the ramp after the gate is locked in the evening will have to anchor their watercraft or tie it to the boat dock and return when the station is open to retrieve it.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds boaters that the purchase of the ANS stamp is required prior to operating on Colorado’s waters in 2019. More information that can be found on CPW’s website: https://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/ISP-ANS.aspx.

Non-motorized vessels such as canoes and kayaks are not required to undergo inspection and can launch from the Ruedi boat ramp and other locations around Ruedi Reservoir.

All boaters and anglers can help keep waterways free of aquatic nuisance species infestation by following “Clean, Drain, Dry” principles before entering and when leaving water bodies:

Clean: all mud, plant and animal material from boats, trailers, boots, gear and equipment;

Drain: all water from bilges, live wells and ballast tanks;

Dry: all equipment completely before entering a new body of water.

For additional information about Ruedi Reservoir, contact the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District at 970-963-2266.