DENVER -- Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say quagga mussel larvae found in a Summit County reservoir will mean longer boat inspection lines over Labor Day weekend.
"We're going to be very, very busy," explained Chatfield Reservoir Seasonal Park Ranger Darla Scott.
"Asking the public is to diligent, we need their help, we need boaters' help. It will create more lines, especially on Green Mountain Reservoir, as we do a more thorough inspection process," said Lauren Truitt a spokeswoman with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Truitt said that because of the quagga mussel larva that was found at Green Mountain Reservoir, rangers will be conducting more rigorous boat inspections at reservoirs across the state.
She also said additional boats must go through decontamination, including any boats that have come off Green Mountain Reservoir within the last month.
"Doesn't mean you can't get on any other water, we're just going to do a more thorough process," said Truitt.
Decontamination requires boats to be cleaned with hot water to ensure no quagga or zebra mussels are on the boat before it enters another body of water.
In addition to boats that have been on Green Mountain Reservoir, CPAW said any out of state boats, those in poor condition, or boats that have been on other suspect waters like Lake Powell, which is already infested with quagga mussels, will have to go through the decontamination process.
Following the confirmation of larvae in Summit County on Monday, CPAW said it has gone into prevention mode to protect Colorado's drinking water.
"An infestation that could happen from these larvae being detected in our waters, the impact could go into the billions [of dollars]," said Truitt. "Not only does it sterilize a body of water, it ruins the fish hatcheries, ruins the habitat in that water, it also makes the hydroelectric power or the drinking water, the infrastructure of that reservoir is now degraded."
Truitt also said CPAW is dealing with a $24 million budget shortfall by 2023 and without an increase in hunting and fishing fees, the government agency could be forced to cut critical programs like these inspections.
"It's something we are looking at for the 2018 legislative session and what another ANS bill could look like," explained Truitt.
Last year, a bill to increase fees died in committee.