Inspect river craft for aquatic hitchhikers

In recent weeks there have been articles in The DurangoHerald addressing the city’s direction in controlling the use of the Animas River in regards to recreational use of put-in sites and other aspects affecting the river.

When we begin using boats on Lake Nighthorse, they will have to be inspected for invasive species such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels and other aquatic hitchhikers. This is an unfortunate thing we have to do but is certainly necessary because the implications caused by not doing it can be catastrophic.

Because all of the water going into Lake Nighthorse comes from the Animas River, I submit that the same need for boat inspections should be necessary for any watercraft launched into the river.

The same possibility to transport invasive species on a powerboat exists for rafts, kayaks, and other crafts operated on the river. There are indeed thousands of launchings on the river during the year and we have no way of guaranteeing that Lake Nighthorse won’t be contaminated without inspecting all craft using Animas River water.

I am certain that no one who uses the river wishes to be responsible for contaminating it and will be more than willing to participate in any way they can to prevent it.

I hope this will begin a dialogue that will address this potential problem.

Paul Stahlecker


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