Invasive mussel policies in Boulder County

Boulder Reservoir.

From The Denver Post (Sam Lounsberry):

As confirmed cases of invasive mussel contamination on out-of-state boats reach record numbers in areas close to Boulder County, local authorities say the problematic species’ profile remains low, as it traditionally has, within county borders.

Reservoirs popular with recreational users in Boulder County have policies governing what boaters have to do before putting in, efforts to decontaminate all crafts entering local waters and biology to thank for the good news…

At Longmont’s Union Reservoir, inspectors in the past 10 years have come across only two vessels contaminated with invasive mussels, and so far, none have been found this year, according to John Brim, a city parks and open space ranger.

Because only wakeless boating is allowed at Union Reservoir, it doesn’t attract boats used most often at out-of-state bodies of water known to harbor the invasive species; Lake Powell is especially notorious…

At Boulder Reservoir, cases of contaminated boats are slightly more common, with one confirmed contamination this year, and about five suspected mussel contaminations, with several of those confirmed, since 2008, according to Boulder Reservoir Manager Stacy Cole…

Between 15 and 20 decontaminations have taken place this year in Boulder, including one Monday, for boats that haven’t received a permit tag from the city or those that have and since were used on an out-of-state waterway.

“Parks and Recreation staff use a mobile decontamination unit which flushes the system including ballast tanks with high-temperature water — 140 degrees Fahrenheit — necessary to kill mussels,” Boulder spokesperson Denise White said. “The city also adds potassium hydroxide to the decontamination water to kill any possible mussels before the wastewater enters the city’s sanitary sewer system.”

Boulder boosted its precautions for this year, requiring not only an initial decontamination process for untagged boats and those coming in after a stint outside Colorado, but also an ensuing seven-day quarantine period on dry land at Boulder Reservoir and a second decontamination before the vessel is allowed back in the water. Cole said there was no particular incident that prompted the city’s move. Rather, the growing number of mussel-infested waterways in surrounding states has prompted such prevention initiatives across the state, she said…

Boaters can receive their first decontamination for free from state officials in Denver, and then pay Boulder for their second decontamination at rates that vary from $35 to $175 depending on the size of the watercraft…

Broomfield protects itself from the pesky organism by disallowing boating on all its waterways.

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