On January 1st, Colorado Boating Fees went up, thanks to invasive mussels.
Zebra and quagga mussels can latch on to the bottoms of boats and spread to different lakes. So before a boat hits the water, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, or CPW officials inspect boats to be sure they’re free of mussels, and that requires extra money.
Last year, the Colorado General Assembly passed a bill that requires boaters to buy a stamp. For Coloradans, it costs $25. It's $50 for visitors. This fee is separate from boat registration.
Mussels were first identified as a problem in 2008, spreading and disrupting delicate water ecosystems. They eat plankton, outcompeting local fish species, and can even damage infrastructures like irrigation and dams.
Last year, 51 boats were found with mussels in Colorado, beating out the previous year’s record of 26.
The new fee will cover half of the cost of the inspection program. The rest is paid by CPW and federal money.