Highline Lake Is Colorado’s First Body of Water Categorized As Infested
A recent discovery at Highline Lake has resulted in a change in the status of this popular western Colorado lake.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff has discovered additional invasive zebra mussels at Highline Lake State Park north of Loma. The discovery prompted CPW to change the status of Highline from "Suspect" to "Infested." It's the first time that a body of water in the state of Colorado has been categorized with zebra mussels. CPW found a single adult zebra mussel on an artificial PVC substrate in the lake during routine invasive species sampling.
What's the Big Deal About Zebra Mussels?
Zebra mussels are small but can have a huge and damaging impact on Colorado waters. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, when invasive species are established it can lead to millions of dollars in damages to water-based infrastructure, impact water quality, and limit recreational opportunities. CPW says the "impacts could be devastating."
What the Heck Are Zebra Mussels?
Zebra mussels are relatives of clams and oysters. They are small freshwater bivalve mollusk animals with two shells. The shells may be a yellowish or darker brown color, and often times they have stripes.
How Does Being "Infested" Impact Highline Lake?
Currently, no boating is allowed on Highline Lake due to the annual seasonal closure of all surface-water activities on October 1. The invasive species experts at CPW are currently evaluating the next steps and will be releasing a plan of action at a later date.
Mandatory Boat Testing Has Limited the Spread of Zebra Mussels
In order to prevent the introduction of zebra mussels in Colorado waters, the state requires boats to be professionally inspected if they have been in any body of water that is positive or suspect, in a body of water outside of Colorado, or entering a body of water where inspections are required. Mussels can be dispersed through human-related activities, hitching a ride to other bodies of water on boats, trailers, and equipment that are transported from place to place.
Photos: The Amazing View at Highline Lake State Park in Loma, Colorado
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