2018 #COleg: Mussel Free Colorado Act, sponsored by the water resources review committee, to be introduced in January

Quaggas on sandal at Lake Mead

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):

The Mussel Free Colorado Act, sponsored by the water resources review committee, is expected to be introduced to legislators in early 2018 and, if passed, would provide funding starting in 2019 by requiring boaters to buy an aquatic nuisance species stamp. These fees, $25 for Colorado residents and $50 for out-of-state boaters, would generate about $2.4 million per year and could increase with inflation, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The legislation also would increase the penalties for boaters who launch on lakes and reservoirs without an inspection from $50 to $100 and continues existing severance tax appropriations for the program.

The state’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Act, approved in 2008, required boat inspections starting in 2009 at many lakes and reservoirs across the state — a program that has resulted in more than 3.5 million boat inspections, that wildlife officials say truly has protected waters and that is a model to other states.

In fact, those inspections kept 25 mussel-infested boats off Colorado waters in 2017, keeping at bay a threat that state officials believe will likely increase as infestations spread nationwide through boats that move from water to water.

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