Letter: Support ‘mussel-free’ act
HB18-1008 Mussel-free Colorado Act, is a recently introduced bill in Colorado’s Legislature to financially assist the Division of Parks and Wildlife’s (CPW) aquatic nuisance species program. A portion of this bill encourages the federal government to dedicate sufficient funding and resources for invasive species controlling measures.
Quagga mussels and their “relatives” were first found in 1988 in Lake Michigan, having hitched a ride on ships from Asia. They are able to live out of the water for up to two weeks and spread from lake to lake being first discovered in Colorado in 2008, in nine bodies of water. When fully grown, two of the larger invasive species are roughly 1 inch in size. They cluster together, attaching themselves to piers and propellers, clogging pipes and dams, filtering and feeding on tiny animals and plants, which leaves native aquatic species starving, plus disrupting the ecological balance of entire bodies of water.
The Aspen Times in January 2017 stated that since 2010 at Ruedi Reservoir on a “part time” bases nearly 20,000 vessels were inspected with 269 decontaminated after they were identified as posing a risk. In 2016-2017 CPW checked over 373,300 vessels and decontaminated more than 10,000 of those.
Haphazard inspection at this reservoir or any Colorado water region undermines the effectiveness of CPW.
This is a hole in the objective of clean healthy sustainable water for the economy, municipalities and sportsmen.
Colorado Trout Unlimited emphasized that “Clean, Drain and Dry” doesn’t just apply to speedboats and Skidoos. Fisherman/waterfowl hunters do not have to spend their time getting cleared to enter the water by CPW confirming that their wading boots are clean. But with this freedom comes great responsibility. Prevention is costly, but if mussels enter a lake, they aren’t leaving, and with that costs and restrictive measures escalate.
As users of Colorado’s clean water for drinking and sporting activities please join me in asking your state representative to pass this water legislation.
Colorado board, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers