Click here for more articles
CDOW inspecting boats at Vallecito for mussels
5/14/210 By: Carole McWilliams
Sawmill Point will be the only boat put-in place at Vallecito this summer because of the threat of invasive zebra and quagga mussels getting into the lake, Vallecito Chamber of Commerce members were told on April 22.
Pine River Irrigation District dam superintendent Hal Pierce described the problems caused by the mussels and the restrictions aimed at keeping them out of Vallecito.
“If we get them in our lake, there will be no fish,” Pierce said. They would jam up the hydropower plant and irrigation structures downstream.
They reproduce prolifically and attach themselves in huge clumps to any firm surface, jamming up the works of any mechanical systems.
“This mussel thing… there will be some things a lot of us aren’t going to like” to try to keep them out, Pierce said.
Boats will only be able to go into the lake at Sawmill Point between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Every boat will be inspected by the Colorado Division of Wildlife before it goes in. There will be a hot water, high-pressure wash station.
In addition, Pierce advised there will be no boating, period, from October 15 to April 15. Bureau of Reclamation representative Mark Chiarito said that’s because CDOW can only afford to pay an inspector through the summer months.
Chamber members worried that will affect duck hunters. Pierce and Chiarito had no good answer for that.
Asked if boaters can put in at Forest Service campgrounds, Pierce said, “I think those are going to be bouldered off and the campground hosts will monitor it. … Every ramp, to the best of my knowledge, will be bouldered off and closed except for the main one.”