Aquatic Nuisance Control Programs
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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02:59 PM -- Aquatic Nuisance Control Programs
Elizabeth Brown, Division of Wildlife, explained that aquatic nuisance species (ANS) are non-indigenous invasive organisms that are capable of causing significant damage to ecological, commercial and recreational resources. The State Aquatic Nuisance Species Regulation lists 15 ANS including Zebra and Quagga mussels, New Zealand mud snails and Eurasian watermilfoil that have been detected in Colorado. She explained that the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 08-226 which creates a program to protect the state's waters from ANS. The law requires the Division of Wildlife (DOW) and Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (Parks) in the Department of Natural Resources, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the Colorado Tourism Office, and the Department of Agriculture, to implement plans to control these species. It also authorizes the DOW and Parks to inspect motor vehicles, vessels, trailers, or any related equipment (i.e., conveyances) under certain conditions. It allows the agencies to require conveyance owners to decontaminate their conveyance or have it impounded, and to assess penalties on persons who fail to comply with the requirements. The law appropriated $7.2 million from the Severance Tax Trust Fund and Wildlife Cash Fund for ANS control in FY 2008-09. It also appropriates $4 million for ANS control from Tier 2 of the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund for FY 2009-10 and each year thereafter. She explained that some of these moneys are used for early detection programs. In 2008, the program sampled 102 water bodies in Colorado and in 2009, it sampled 160 water bodies. To date, seven Colorado water bodies have tested positive for ANS including Lake Granby and Pueblo, Taryall, and Jumbo reservoirs. Blue Mesa Reservoir is also suspected of being invaded. She also described how private entities assist with ANS inspection and control programs.
Ms. Brown described measures to control the spread of ANS through fish stocking and programs to educate the public about ANS and how to control their spread. She explained that the state is also conducting research on how mussels are spread in cold water bodies, decontamination methods, and potential biological controls for ANS. She also responded to questions about recent mussel findings and factors that may limit ANS infestation, such as the pH level and the amount of dissolved calcium in a water body.
Brad Wind, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, explained that the district receives water from Lake Granby in western Colorado that is contaminated with mussels. This water is transported through a tunnel to farms and cities in northeastern Colorado. He described inspection programs on western and eastern water bodies and efforts to reduce inspection costs such as reducing the number of boat ramps which eliminates the need for an inspector. He urged the legislature to consider imposing a user fee on boat owners to pay for ANS control programs. He also responded to questions about the costs of alternative inspection methods such as locating inspectors on every boat ramp and locating inspectors at central ports of entry.