Highline Lake State Park has been “infected” with an invasive species recently. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has determined that the lake has enough invasive zebra mussel species to cause an infestation. Officials spotted a single zebra mussel on Sept. 14, which prompted more testing on the lake.
Now, there are enough of the non-native species in the lake to warrant the “infected” classification. Parks and Wildlife officials say that this is evidence of an established population in Highline Lake. The mussels could do “millions of dollars in damages to water-based infrastructure.” Additionally, they would lower water quality and limit water recreation.
Since Oct. 1, a scheduled boating closure has been in effect at Highline Lake State Park, according to a report from Out There Colorado. It’s possible that the species could have spread outside of the park. But, Parks and Wildlife officials hope that’s not the case.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is currently deciding what the next steps should be. The department says that public awareness and preventative measures could stop the spread of the species.
“Thanks to Colorado’s robust early detection sampling and monitoring program, we were able to make this discovery,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Acting Director Heather Dugan. “As more and more people use our water resources for boating, we must continue to work tirelessly to prevent the spread of these harmful invasive species.”
There are also certain rules put in place for boaters on the reservoir. Colorado requires that all boats be professionally inspected if they were in waters that contain or are suspected to contain aquatic nuisance species. Additionally, it must be inspected if it has been in waters outside of Colorado. Boats that head into contaminated waters are required to go through deep cleaning and decontamination.
Two Adults Dead, Toddler Hospitalized After Strong Winds Capsize Kayaks in Colorado
In tragic news out of Colorado, two adults are dead and a toddler is hospitalized after their kayaks were capsized by high winds at Lake Pueblo State Park. A kayak carrying an adult and a toddler capsized in winds gusting at 35 to 45 mph on Oct. 23. The waves were high, and overturned the kayak.
Two other kayakers tried to help the adult and child, but they capsized as well. Colorado Parks and Wildlife rangers arrived at the scene and found four people in the water. Two adults were later retrieved from waters that were 20 feet deep. The child was airlifted to a local hospital.
“This is another heartbreaking tragedy and we send our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these victims,” said Lake Pueblo State Park Manager Joe Stadterman in a statement. “We continue to urge everyone to pay close attention to weather conditions and to wear life jackets when they are on or near the water so we can avoid future tragedies like today.”