Colorado Parks and Wildlife encourages boaters to be prepared for watercraft inspections when traveling to Colorado this Memorial Day Weekend

Aquatic nuisance species such as zebra and quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails and Eurasian watermilfoil wreak havoc on ecosystems, outdoor recreation, and the economy.
Grand Junction, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will be operating three roadside watercraft inspection & decontamination check stations on the interstates this upcoming holiday weekend. These check stations will be implemented at the eastbound weigh station at the Loma Port of Entry on I-70, the northbound weigh station at the Trinidad Port of Entry on I-25, and the westbound weigh station at the Ft. Morgan Port of Entry on I-76.

The purpose of these mandatory check stations is to stop any vessel with the potential to transport invasive plants and animals from entering the state’s waters in order to reduce negative impacts to natural resources and outdoor recreation. Inspecting watercraft at ports of entry helps ensure Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs remain free of highly destructive aquatic nuisance species (ANS).

“Historically, Memorial Day Weekend is very popular for boating and we are expecting a large number of boats to be entering or returning to Colorado,” said Robert Walters, CPW Invasive Species Program Manager. “We want to assure the public that CPW will do its best to get everyone checked efficiently, and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation. Cooperation from boaters is vital for CPW’s work to protect Colorado’s waters.”

CPW encourages boaters to plan ahead and add additional time when creating their travel plans this weekend. To help expedite the inspection process and minimize impacts to their travel, boaters are encouraged to do the following:

  • Minimize the amount of gear and equipment stored in your vessel during transport.
  • Be prepared to remove any and all covers on the vessel to allow for inspection.
  • Clean, drain, and dry vessels prior to arrival at the station. Watercraft found to have mud, plants, water, or mussels during inspection will be subject to decontamination.

Read CPW’s Guide to ANS Inspections.

In the first two months of roadside inspections this year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff has intercepted seven watercraft that were fouled with invasive mussels. The mussels were collected, and the vessels were decontaminated prior to being released.

“It’s important to remember that transporting invasive mussels into Colorado is illegal and stopping at check stations is required,” said Walters. “We need boaters’ help and compliance with these mandatory check stations to ensure invasive mussels are not allowed to further establish within our state.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds boaters that boat inspections for aquatic nuisance species are mandatory in Colorado. Any motorboat and sailboat entering Colorado waters must have an ANS Stamp prior to launching.

To learn more or purchase an ANS Stamp, visit CPW’s website. 

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