Additional invasive zebra mussels found at Highline Lake State Park — #Colorado Parks & Wildlife

CPW staff has discovered the presence of additional invasive zebra mussels at Highline Lake. Photo credit: CPW

Click the link to read the article on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website (Travis Duncan):

CPW staff has discovered the presence of additional invasive zebra mussels at Highline Lake located at Highline Lake State Park north of Loma, Colorado. The discovery comes following increased testing after CPW found a single adult zebra mussel on an artificial PVC substrate in the lake during routine invasive species sampling on Sept. 14.

The discovery of additional invasive mussels in the water is indicative of an established population in the reservoir and has prompted CPW to change the status of the body of water from “Suspect” to “Infested.” This is the first time a body of water has been categorized as infested with zebra mussels in the state of Colorado. 

There is currently no boating on the lake because Highline Lake closes to all surface-water activities for the season annually on October 1. 

“Thanks to Colorado’s robust early detection sampling and monitoring program, we were able to make this discovery,” said CPW Acting Director Heather Dugan. “As more and more people use our water resources for boating, we must continue to work tirelessly to prevent the spread of these harmful invasive species.”

The State of Colorado requires boats to be professionally inspected if:

  • a boat has been in any body of water that is positive, or suspect for ANS
  • a boat has been in any body of water outside of Colorado
  • a boat will be entering any water body where inspections are required

Boats exiting infested waters that are not cleaned, drained, and dry are subject to mandatory decontamination requirements.

The establishment of invasive species can lead to millions of dollars in damages to water-based infrastructure, impact water quality and limit recreational opportunity. CPW’s invasive species experts are evaluating next steps and will have more to communicate on the actions it is taking at Highline Lake at a later date. 

Please help CPW stop the movement of harmful invasive species, such as zebra mussels, into new waters. Public awareness and participation is the best weapon in the prevention of invasive species. 

Please visit the CPW website for more information about zebra and quagga mussels.

Click the link to read “Mussels muscle into Highline: Infestation is first in Colorado” on the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel website (Dennis Webb). Here’s an excerpt:

Alan Martinez, manager of Highline Lake State Park, said that after previous sampling found no more of the mussels, 10 adults have now been found at different locations in the lake, thanks to additional discoveries on Friday and Sunday. The discovery of multiple adults means they’re assumed to be reproducing.

“We are unfortunately the first-ever body of water infested” in the state, he said. “It’s not a title that we want. Now we’ve got to figure out how to protect the rest of Colorado.”’

He said there will now be a lot of discussion within Colorado Parks and Wildlife about how to do that.

“We need to figure out where we move forward at this point and right now we don’t have an answer on that,” he said.

Now the new protocol will remain as long as the lake is infested, and Martinez said there’s no way of getting rid of the mussels short of draining the lake. He previously has said that doing that would mean losing a warm-water fishery there that took decades to build. Robert Walters, Parks and Wildlife’s invasive species program manager, has said that even draining a lake doesn’t guarantee eradication.

Leave a Reply