DENVER, Colo.--The Colorado Division of Wildlife reminds boaters that boat ramps and watercraft-inspection stations at two popular impoundments have closed for the season and other boat ramps across the state will be closing soon. Seasonal closures will remain in effect until inspections for invasive mussels and other aquatic nuisance species resume next spring.
"Because recreational use drops off considerably in fall, most of our watercraft-inspection sites will be shutting down or will have limited hours of operation," said Elizabeth Brown, DOW invasive species coordinator. "Trailered-watercraft access will be limited, and boaters should check local conditions and regulations before heading out this fall to ensure that boat ramps and inspection stations are still open."
Two popular flat-water destinations, Jumbo Reservoir and Turquoise Lake, have already been closed to motorized boating for the season. Others, such as Twin Lakes and Antero Reservoir, will conclude operations in the coming weeks.
Hand-launched, non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks, canoes, belly boats, sailboards, rafts, float tubes, windsurfer boards and inner tubes are permitted and will not be affected by the closures.
The DOW and Colorado State Parks, along with other state, federal and local agencies, implemented watercraft inspections at over 100 locations in 2009-2010. The inspection program is part of a statewide effort to prevent the further spread of zebra/quagga mussels and other aquatic nuisance species in Colorado's waterways. Infestations of flat-water impoundments could result in the loss of access for boaters.
State officials estimate the 2010 program inspected more than 400,000 boats, identifying more than 500 contaminated vessels, or those deemed "at-risk" for carrying mussels or other aquatic nuisance species. Those craft were decontaminated at hot-water, high-pressure-wash stations to prevent the spread of invasive pests.
"The inspection program was very successful in its second year," said Brown. "Inspectors stopped 16 boats that were completely encrusted with invasive mussels and helped to protect our resources from further contamination."
Brown added that boaters were extremely cooperative and inspections ran smoothly, statewide. The DOW will ask boaters for their continued cooperation when inspections resume again in the spring.
Boaters are encouraged to have vessels inspected prior to storing boats for the winter. Boaters who successfully complete a state-certified inspection should request a "green" seal and corresponding receipt, which will expedite launching and inspections next spring.
Inspections are available at the DOW's Denver Headquarters year round. The DOW's Grand Junction Service Center will continue offering watercraft inspections until Oct. 29, 2010. Year-round inspection services are also available at some Colorado marine dealers.
Boaters can visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website or contact the appropriate managing agencies for the latest information pertaining to closures or fall hours of operation at specific lakes and reservoirs.
Some key closures and dates are as follows:
(Closures apply to trailered boats and motorized watercraft only. Hand-launched vessels, including belly boats, canoes, rafts and kayaks, sailboards, windsurfer boards and inner tubes are permitted at most locations until winter ice develops.)
Antero Reservoir--Oct. 31
Bear Creek Lake --Nov. 15
Clear Creek Reservoir--Sept. 26
Jumbo Reservoir--Oct. 1
Narraguinnep Reservoir --Oct. 4
Prewitt Reservoir--Oct. 1
Sanchez Reservoir --Oct. 31
Tarryall Reservoir--Oct. 31
Turquoise Lake--Sept. 19
Twin Lakes--Oct. 24
Williams Fork --Oct. 15
Wolford Mountain Reservoir--Nov. 1
Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain and Lake Granby: Watercraft inspections will end Oct. 31, but the reservoir will not close to boating until winter-ice forms. Boaters who use these reservoirs after lake inspection sites close are still required to have vessels inspected prior to launching at a new location. The Hot Sulphur Springs DOW office will continue offering inspections year round by appointment.
For the latest information pertaining to boat ramp closures, statewide watercraft inspection sites and hours of operation, please visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website at:
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us