This was the first year that all boats using Ruedi Reservoir were screened for invasive species of mussels. Finding funding to continue the program will be no easy task.
The Ruedi Water and Power Authority limited recreation hours and spent nearly $100,000 on boat inspections last summer. That’s about $10,000 more than expected, according to the agency’s executive director Mark Fuller.
So far, these inspections have prevented the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, which have caused extensive damage to both ecosystems and infrastructure in other parts of the U.S.
But it takes a lot of resources. Inspectors had to be on site whenever the boat ramp was open. They screened more than 5,000 boats, and decontaminated 112.
The 2017 program was funded by nine different agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service and the Ute Water Conservancy District. Fuller expects that next year the seven local governments that are part of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority will again be asked to split the bill.