Depending on where you live, the water recreation season is quickly approaching. But before you go, it’s important you know the rules of your favorite watering hole.
For example, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) requires boats go through a thorough inspection after exiting some of Colorado's waterways. But what are they looking for? They're looking for aquatic nuisance species (ANS), such as zebra and quagga mussels. ANS are known to cling to boats and detach when arriving in a new environment.
Despite their very small size, these critters can cause a lot of damage to underwater infrastructure, such as dams, valves and pipes, leading to a huge price tag to fix or replace. And they can also clog infrastructure, which can negatively affect water quality.
CPW encourages boaters to keep in mind the following tips:
• Remove any visible plant or plant fragments as well as mud or other debris. Plant material, mud and other debris routinely contain other organisms that may be an aquatic nuisance species, and plant fragments and animals can survive in mud many days out of water. Some plant species are aquatic nuisance species.
• Check trailer, including axel and wheel areas - in and around the boat itself: anchor, props and jet engines, ropes, boat bumpers, paddles.
• Clean, check and dry off all parts and equipment that came in contact with water.
• Empty bait buckets into trash. Do not empty any bait fish into the lake or reservoir.
• Drain every conceivable space or item that can hold water.
• Follow factory guidelines for eliminating water from engines. All engines hold water, but jet drives on personal watercraft and other boats can hold extra water.
• Remove the drain plug from boats and put boat on an incline so that the water drains out.
• Drain live-wells, bilge, ballast tanks and transom wells.
• Empty water out of kayaks, canoes, rafts, etc.
• Allow everything to completely dry before launching into another body of water.
Following these tips means we can all enjoy playing in the water without those aquatic nuisance species.