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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

Mussel screenings at Ruedi successful, costly

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

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.


Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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