Boat Inspections Required Before & After Entering Waterways
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- The weather is warming up and more folks are preparing to get out their boats. Colorado Parks and Wildlife experts say before that happens, every boat must be inspected.
Zebra and Quagga Mussels are aquatic species that can burn up motors, and more importantly destroy our waterways. They clog pipes, and filter water at such a quick pace that much of the plankton is removed, dissipating fisheries.
"So, do we want them in Colorado? No, we already have them in about seven places," said Sherman Hebein senior aquatic biologist.
Including the Blue Mesa, which is suspected to have the species DNA in the water.
"It's important for boats to get inspected because they're the only vector for Zebra and Quagga Muscles to get into a body of water," said Hebein.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are inspecting every boat that goes into and comes out of any waterway. If the lake or reservoir is small, residents are encouraged to inspect their own gear themselves.
"Every boat that comes onto any state park, and most of the bodies in Colorado, are required to be inspected for aquatic nuisance species," said Alan Martinez manager of Highline Lake.
Last year in Colorado, more than 400,000 boats were inspected. Ten boats were contaminated, but were intercepted before entering the water.
"These things can produce over a million little ones per year," said Hebein.
To inspect boats without an expert present, officials say to clean, drain, and dry the boat.
"We're asking people make sure you clean, drain and dry your boat every time you leave a body of water," said Martinez.
If residents skip a boat inspection, they are subject to a fine. The inspection takes about five minutes.
If there are Zebra or Quagga Mussels found on boats, they must be decontaminated, which takes about an hour and a half.