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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.

Governor signs bill to fund invasive species prevention

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill this week that provides funding for a state program to prevent the spread of invasive species into Colorado’s lakes and reservoirs. The pressure is still on local authorities to cover most of the cost of boat inspections.


The new law provides $2.4 million for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s efforts to keep the state’s lakes clear of aquatic nuisance species. The concern is over zebra and quagga mussels, which are not native to this area and reproduce quickly, causing damage to both ecosystems and infrastructure, like dams.

The bill requires Colorado residents to purchase a $25 stamp for their boats; that fee is doubled for out-of-state boaters. It also increases fines for those who skip inspections or knowingly bring the invasive mussels into the state.

Last summer, the Ruedi Water and Power Authority stepped up its efforts and tripled the amount of money it spends inspecting boats entering Ruedi Reservoir. Mark Fuller is executive director of that agency; he said the new legislation will help ensure continued money from the state for grants and training, but most of the cost for Ruedi’s program will still need to come from local sources.


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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