12:31pm

Fri August 12, 2011
Parks & wildlife

Wildlife Officials Try to Curtail Spread of Invasive Species

With boating season still in full swing, Colorado parks and wildlife officials say they’re worried about the spread of invasive species after finding rusty crayfish in the reservoir at Stagecoach State Park near Steamboat Springs.

They’re continuing efforts to educate boaters, anglers and other water recreationists about the need to clean and dry boats, waders and other equipment.

In areas where invasive mussels have taken hold, pipes have been clogged, beaches have been littered with sharp shells, and fishing has been disrupted. Educational campaigns aimed at halting the spread began in 2004, after the discovery of New Zealand mudsnails in the state. The effort intensified three years later when invasive Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Pueblo. 

Colorado wildlife officials say stopping the spread is a challenge because a few hardy varieties can hitch a ride by means other than boats. Some, including the tiny mudsnail, can live for several weeks out of the water, and can cling to waders, fishing nets, and even hiking boots.

With a few exceptions, Colorado’s waters now are mostly free of invasive species. To keep it that way, wildlife officials say they’ll continue educating water enthusiasts about the need to stay vigilant.

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