Limited Boat Launch Areas to Assist Mussel Prevention Efforts for Early-Season Boating at Blue Mesa
Contact: Brant Porter, 970-641-2337 x206
Contact: Elk Creek Visitor Center, 970-641-2337 x205
Officials for the National Park Service at Curecanti National Recreation Area have announced a change in operations at Blue Mesa Reservoir, effective immediately. “The threat of quagga or zebra mussels continues to escalate as waters in and near Colorado report infestations of these invasive aquatic species,” said Superintendent Connie Rudd. “Boaters are reminded that all vessels are required to be certified mussel-free prior to launch. Until May 8 th, this is a self-certification process and will be strictly enforced.” Vessels that have either been out of Colorado or in waters infested with Zebra and/or Quagga mussels in the past 30 days will not be allowed on Blue Mesa, Morrow Point or Crystal Reservoirs until being dried for a specified period of time or washed at a suitable wash facility.
The self-certification certificate is available at Elk Creek Visitor Center, at the ATM Machine at Lake Fork, or can be downloaded on-line from www.nps.gov/CURE.
A limited number of boat launch ramps will further protect Blue Mesa Reservoir from Zebra and Quagga mussel infestation. “Beginning immediately, satellite ramps, such as Dillon Pinnacles and the Wind Surfing Area, will be closed. By mid-May, the only launch areas will be Elk Creek Marina, Lake Fork Marina and Stevens Creek Campground”, Rudd said.
The indefinite closure of all other ramp facilities is under way. As these ramps are closed for launch and retrieval, signage will be posted at the location indicating the closure. This effort will allow better monitoring of launch areas for non-certified vessels and will increase the likelihood that Blue Mesa will remain mussel free.
The self-certification procedure, which has been in place since April 2008, will remain in place until May 8, 2009. Beginning on May 8, the self-certification program expires and will be replaced by a mandatory program that requires all motorized watercraft launching in Curecanti National Recreation Area to be inspected and, if necessary, decontaminated in accordance with procedures set by the Colorado Department of Wildlife.
“With your help, we can keep Blue Mesa Reservoir mussel-free and protect our fishery!” Rudd said.
Did You Know?
During the railroad days, Cimarron, now part of Curecanti, was a bustling livestock shipping hub with a population as large as 250 people.