Colorado Lake to Be Drained to Eradicate Invasive Mussels: A Necessary Step to Protect Fisheries

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has announced a new plan to eradicate zebra mussels from Highline Lake State Park.

The plan will be a phased approach, with the first phase beginning in late 2023 and the second phase taking place gradually over 2024.

During the first phase, CPW will apply a higher concentration of EarthTec QZ, a copper-based molluscicide, to the lake in order to suppress the mussel population.

In early 2024, CPW will begin slowly lowering the lake level until it is completely empty by the end of the year.

CPW cannot move fish out of Highline Lake into other waters prior to draining due to the risk of moving viable mussels on or inside fish.

Therefore, an emergency fish salvage is now in place at the lake until further notice.

All bag and possession limits for the reservoir have been removed for the duration of the salvage.

CPW understands that this is not ideal for the boating and angling community. However, they believe that it is necessary to protect fisheries across the state.

Zebra mussels are an invasive species that can have a devastating impact on aquatic ecosystems.

They can clog water intake pipes, foul boat hulls, and compete with native fish for food.

CPW is committed to rebuilding the Highline Lake fishery once the zebra mussel eradication project is complete.

They will be working with stakeholders to develop a plan to restock the lake with native fish species.

We believe that CPW is making the right decision by draining Highline Lake to eradicate zebra mussels.

Zebra mussels are a serious threat to fisheries across the country, and it is important to take steps to prevent their spread.

We do understand that this will be a difficult time for the boating and angling community, but I urge them to be patient and supportive.

CPW is working to protect our fisheries for future generations.

We must support the efforts, if we can not be a part of it.