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PLPOA to enforce new boating regulations

If you plan on boating this spring on any of the lakes in the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions, including Lake Forest, Village Lake, Lake Pagosa and Hatcher Lake, new boating regulations for the 2010 boating season are currently in place.

The new regulations are designed to prevent biological invasive species from entering or contaminating our lakes, specifically Quagga or Zebra mussels.

Most people have probably heard of these mussels by now; organisms that, if accidentally introduced into any lake or reservoir, can have devastating effects. They reproduce at an unbelievable rate and can completely take over a water body, attaching to any solid surface available.

The new Pagosa Lakes boating regulations institute some requirements beginning in 2010, including regulations that prohibit certain types of high- risk boats from entering our lakes at all. These boat types include larger complex boats with bilges, ballasts or live wells. The prohibitions probably include the larger, more complex “bass boats” that we see from time to time, as well other types of similar boats.

Boat inspections are required for all boats that can be loaded on a trailer or transported to other lakes on a trailer.

Currently, in Colorado, eight state reservoirs have tested positive for the presence of these invasive mussels: Blue Mesa, Lake Granby, Jumbo State Wildlife Area (reservoir), Lake Pueblo State Park, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, Tarryall State Wildlife Park (reservoir) and Willow Creek Reservoir. Mandatory boat inspections are required at these reservoirs, as well as many others throughout the state.

More information can be found on the invasive mussels, other aquatic nuisance species and mandatory boat inspections at the Colorado Division of Wildlife Web site: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/MandatoryBoatInspections.htm.

No medium to high biological risk-type boats (as described by the state of Colorado) will be allowed on bodies of water in the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions from this point forth, including boats with inboard engines, bilges and/or ballasts. Outboard motors (as long as they are not used or operated) will still be allowed on smaller, open-type boats. Please go to the PLPOA Web site, www.plpoa.com for more information on the new boating regulations.

These invasive organisms are a very serious threat to lakes and reservoirs in the western United States. Once these organisms have been introduced to a water body, they cannot be removed.

Association staff members will be available to inspect boats Monday through Friday, from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Boat inspections for Pagosa Lakes trailer-hauled boats are only available at the Pagosa Lakes Administration Office, 230 Port Ave. If you cannot bring your trailer-hauled boat during these times, contact us at the office, 731-5635. and we will make arrangements to have your boat inspected at a more convenient time. If your boat passes inspection and you continue to own the same low-risk boat, you will not need to have the boat reinspected in subsequent years. All hand-launched water craft, like canoes, kayaks and smaller aluminum boats that can be transported in the back of a truck or on top of a car, do not need to be inspected, but still require an annual boat registration sticker.

The lakes are scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout later this month. Several trucks will deliver trout to all four lakes between the April 20 and 29. Some warmwater species will also be stocked in early May, including largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill. Fishing should be excellent this spring, as fish are becoming more active and feeding after a long winter.

Fishing permits are available at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and at the administration office at 230 Port Ave.

(This week’s Pagosa Lakes News column was written by Larry Lynch of the PLPOA.)