Colorado state officials want comments on proposed changes to 2023 boating season

Zebra mussels are small, freshwater generalists that can survive in a wide range of conditions.
Zebra mussels are small, freshwater generalists that can survive in a wide range of conditions.(Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 11:32 AM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - After zebra mussels were discovered at Highline Lake State Park in Fall of last year, state wildlife officials are working on methods to prevent the invasive species from spreading further into Colorado.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Monday that it will be holding in-person public meetings at Rifle Gap State Park to learn more and provide input on proposed changes at Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap State Parks.

CPW is recommending closing boat ramp gates once boat inspection hours have ended to protect the reservoirs, but park staff say that they are considering different options to reduce the risk of introducing zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species.

“We know how important our reservoir is to our boating community and anglers who enjoy night fishing from boats,” said Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap State Park Manager Brian Parker. “We are looking at ways we can mitigate the impacts of this change and still be able to protect our waters. Your feedback is valuable as we make these types of changes.”

The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 16, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Rifle Gap State Park Visitor Center (5775 Highway 325, Rifle, CO). The meeting is in-person only.

“Each year, we see illegal launches during the night time hours,” said Parker. “The only way to effectively protect our irrigation reservoirs is to control the entry at the boat ramp when the inspection stations are closed.

More information can be found by contacting park staff at (970) 625-1607.