Boat Ramp Operations at Vallecito Reservoir to Prevent Spread of Mussels

Media Contact: Mark Chiarito, (970) 385-6577

For Release: May 31, 2012

DURANGO, Colo. - The Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife the Pine River Irrigation District and the U.S. Forest Service, announces Vallecito Reservoir boat ramp use modifications to prevent the spread of invasive mussels.

Vallecito Reservoir is one of 20 water bodies across Colorado ranked as "very high" for risk of a zebra or quagga mussel invasion based on its proximity to infected waters. In 2010, a boat infested with quagga mussels from out of state was intercepted and decontaminated by CPW at Vallecito. As a result of the potential risk to the reservoir, only the Sawmill Point boat ramp is open for public use. All other launch sites on Reclamation land are closed and violators will be cited.

The Sawmill Point boat ramp will be open daily this summer and Rocky Mountain Recreation Company will operate a watercraft inspection and decontamination station through a contract with CPW. Inspection of all watercraft is mandatory prior to launching. Throughout the summer, the boat ramp will be closed overnight and seasonally from fall to spring. Signs will be posted with the boat ramp schedule.

Quagga and zebra mussels are among the most devastating aquatic species to invade North American freshwater systems. The discovery of mussels in Lake Mead (Arizona), Pueblo Reservoir (Colorado), and other water bodies in the states of California, Nevada, Texas and Utah, has placed Vallecito and other Colorado waters in the middle of the invasion path.

For questions regarding boat ramp operating hours, contact Hal Pierce with PRID at 884-2558 or Mark Chiarito with Reclamation at 970-385-6577. To report illegal launching of trailered watercraft, please contact the La Plata Sheriff's Office at 970-385-2900.

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