Boat Ramp Operations at Vallecito Reservoir to Prevent Spread of Mussels

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

For Release: April 24, 2013

DURANGO, Colo. - The Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Pine River Irrigation District, and U.S. Forest Service, announces Vallecito Reservoir boat ramp operations 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 Colorado Parks and Wildlife 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 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning May 3 until September. Rocky Mountain Recreation Company will operate a watercraft inspection and decontamination station through a contract with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Inspection of all trailered watercraft is mandatory prior to launching. The boat ramp will be closed overnight during the summer, and seasonally from fall to spring.

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), Lake Powell (Arizona and Utah), Pueblo Reservoir (Colorado), and other water bodies in California, Nevada, Texas and Utah, has placed Vallecito and other Colorado waters in the middle of the invasion path.

For questions regarding boat ramp operations at Vallecito, contact Hal Pierce at Pine River Irrigation District, phone 970-884-2558; Jim White at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, phone 970-375-6712; or Mark Chiarito at Bureau of Reclamation, phone 970-385-6577. To report illegal launching of trailered watercraft, please contact the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office at 970-385-2900.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.