Location: SCR 357
Aquatic Nuisance Species Prevention and Funding
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
|Votes: View-->||Action Taken:|
03:41 PM -- Aquatic Nuisance Species Prevention and Funding
Doug Krieger, Chief of Fisheries, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), explained that Zebra and Quagga Mussels larva were detected in Pueblo Reservoir in 2008 (Attachment K). Zebra and Quagga Mussels are invasive aquatic nuisance species (ANS) that pose a significant threat to aquatic wildlife and water quality in Colorado. Due to their hard shell and ability to rapidly reproduce, these species are capable of clogging water facilities and impairing the operation of dams, water treatment facilities, and power plants. Other ANS include New Zealand Mudsnail, Asian Carp, Rusty Crayfish, and Eurasian Watermilfoil. In response to the discovery of the Zebra and Quagga Mussels larva, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 08-226, the State Aquatic Nuisance Species Act. The act makes it illegal to possess, import, export, ship, transport, release, plant, place, or cause an ANS to be released into a body of water in the state. The act also created and allocated funding for the ANS Program in Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), in the Department of Natural Resources. As part of the ANS Program, CPW is authorized to inspect and, if necessary, decontaminate or quarantine recreational watercraft or motor vehicles used to transport a watercraft. He explained that Colorado has since been determined to be free of Zebra and Quagga Mussels. However, Colorado is surrounded by several states that have ANS (ANS). For example, the Zebra Mussel has spread to 33 states, including Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah. Mr. Krieger identified areas in Colorado where boats infested with ANS have been detected. Over 100 boats coming into Colorado from other states with attached zebra or quagga mussels have been intercepted at boat inspection and decontamination stations. These boats were found throughout the state including Blue Mesa Reservoir, Boulder Marine, Canon Marine, Carter Reservoir, Chatfield Reservoir, Lake Dillon, Horsetooth Reservoir, Pueblo Reservoir, and Williams Fork Reservoir.
Reid DeWalt, Assistant Director for Wildlife and Natural Resources, explained the ANS program has been funded by the Tier 2 Operational Account of the Severance Tax Fund. However, due to declines in severance tax revenue, the General Assembly needed to appropriate General Fund moneys for the ANS control program. He explained that SB 17-259 transferred $2.5 million form the General Fund to the ANS Fund. He also discussed efforts to identify alternative funding for the ANS program (Attachment L).
Brad Wind, Deputy Manager, Operations Division, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, identified reservoirs operated by the district that allow boats and that are at risk from ANS (Attachment M). He also discussed ANS control programs on the district's facilities and identified potential costs if these reservoirs become infected by ANS. He also discussed the importance of boat inspections to control the spread of ANS.
Joe Stibrich, Water Resources Policy Manager, Aurora Water, identified reservoirs operated by the city that allow boats and that are at risk from ANS (Attachment N). He discussed the cost of ANS control measures for Aurora's facilities and the need for reliable long-term funding sources for the state's ANS program.
Mr. Krieger responded to questions from the committee about the authority of the CPW to charge for the actual cost for boat decontamination instead of the current flat fee. Mr. DeWalt discussed the cost of boat permits and the use of these revenues to promote boating safety under current law. Mr. Krieger also discussed the threat of seaplanes spreading ANS.