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Old 11-12-2014   #31
Droboat's Avatar
Wild Wild West, Colorado
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 214
Frankly, I kind of like the idea of spending some money preventing beaches and rocks in the Colorado River from getting covered with billions of tiny razor blades, and think it's a worthwhile, if costly, endeavor.


Your Frankness poses a good question: Where to spend the money?

Restrac2000s' promised numbers might show it is more effective to protect beaches and rocks by removing the dams that create invasive habitat for the invasive species instead of pouring million$ per year into a losing war on mussels.

If state and Wrecked spending were diverted away from Checkpoint Quaggas and toward bringing the dams down, there might be some chance the tiny razor blades do not establish and adapt in a flowing Colorado basin.

BTW - I see no problem spending money and putting Ebola-type quarantines on boats in the Great Lakes and areas where the introduction and spread of invasive bivalves poses a real ecological and economic crisis.

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Old 11-13-2014   #32
Auckland, Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 9
Hey man down here in NZ we have to do the same thing on our South Island when paddling on the rivers. We have a system called Check, Clean, Dry. All you do for this is check and remove any visible organisms then soak and maybe scrub the gear in the solution (if unable to soak you can spray the solution) then leave it do dry in the sun or use other methods to dry the gear until it's dry to the touch. Hopefully this spread should help with cleaning/ decontaminating gear!

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Old 11-13-2014   #33
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,933
Originally Posted by Droboat View Post
The opinion, stated as fact, was yours. I called bullshit.

Look forward to some support for your assertion that mussel control on the Colorado generates a massive return on what you now admit are actually billions of pennies.
I was really looking forward to having my feet in the water and thinking more about trout and grouse than mussels but alas nasty weather shifted 100+ miles south through my camp so I bailed. So it goes in November and exploring alone (much more conservative with decisions since I married).

I did provide support. Ironically a billion pennies is cents on the dollar when compared to the amount of $$ mussels have caused to the Great Lakes basin. That is my comparison.

An estimate I have found is that 113 power plants draw water for their facilities from the Great Lakes. If you divide the $3.1 billion (from 1993-1999) by 113 and then by 7 years (3.1billion/113)/(7) you get roughly $4million per facility per year (which agrees with the statistic found on page 4 here: So take Lake Powell alone which operating on a $750k mussel budget and has one power plant to maintain. That would equate to roughly $.20 on the dollar when you compare prevention to incurred costs from full invasion. And that is comparing 1993-1999 dollars to 2014. According to inflation calculators that $4 million would be equivalent to $5.7 million dollars today (assuming the latest most conservative year of 1999). So that comparison drops to $.13 on the dollar.

And we are talking broadly. Municipalities of affected regions have incurred costs of $500,000 per year alone. And those numbers have little reflection on the costs to ecosystems.

I think that explains my cents on the dollar comment. You may disagree with the sentiment because you hate Lake Powell but that isn't enough evidence to dispute 20 years of accumulating evidence. Congress, universities, resource agencies, states, and municipalities are all aligned with what I have presented. Your sentiment flies in the face of all of the evidence they have mounted to make the decision to prevent as much spread as possible.

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Old 11-13-2014   #34
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,933
You are right....without the dams on the Colorado there would not be quagga mussels. Unfortunately, the dams are a reality.

Considering each of the agencies has a mandate that requires them to protect their resources they don't have the fairytale option to do nothing and watch the loss associated with invasive species.

Watching the animated map below puts my opinion in perspective:

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

We aren't just talking about your nemesis Glen Canyon Dam. We are talking about the spread of mussels into every tributary and feeder of the rivers and lakes affected. Ecology doesn't oblige state and agency boundaries. You can see how broad the impact is from these two invasive species. The $800 million figure is in 1995 dollars and is only for the power plants affected in the Great Lakes at that point. The distribution of mussels from 1988 to now is impressive. You can see it works its way down the Mississippi basin and then into every major river from there. Its been working its way up the Arkansas Basin now for many years. Imagine what happens when a Colorado, Utah or Arizona boater (or for that matter someone along the Missouri basin) introduces them to Montana and Idaho. The $ Colorado, Utah and Arizona are now spending is drops in the bucket for what happens when all the major western waterways are affected.

We both hate Glen Canyon dam. I hate the tides in the Grand. I hate that beaches are shrinking. I hate that it buried some of the best slot canyons in Utah. I hate what it has done to both terrestrial and aquatic habitats above and below. I would love to be able to visit the old Cathedral in the Desert by oar power like Tad Nichols, Katie Lee and Frank Wright. I have walked to the reservoir line by foot multiple times in the Escalante region and have the visceral reminder of how much we can fuck up an environment every time. I paddled the length of Powell over two trips because I would prefer to experience it that way then by motor.

But none of those experiences, sentiments or values trump my desire to learn from the past and try and stop future human damage. Tacitly and directly supporting the expansion of such a detrimental invasive aquatic species is to view the world in a local versus global perspective. The Colorado drainage is ecologically tied to a much broader environment, especially when you include human movement and use, than Lake Powell. As much as I would love to see Glen Canyon Dam thoughtfully removed and the river to flow free through that stretch unfortunately that is not part of the current equation. And trying to insert it here isn't going to lead to the outcome you want.

The least I can do is stop at a few checkpoints and support resource agencies sincerely trying to do their best. We may hate what the BoR stands for historically and contemporarily but that pollution doesn't need to spread to agencies looking out for our habits (like recreation) or those solely invested in maintaining ecosystems. Having worked for just one I know the dauntless and thankless job they have in the face of crippled budgets and diverse stakeholder angst.

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Old 11-14-2014   #35
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,933
To respect kangore's efforts I have moved any further discussion I have with DroBoat


Sorry for any role in threadjacking.

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Old 11-14-2014   #36
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
Thank you. Regardless of your opinion of dams I doubt any of them are going to be removed prior to the 2015 boating season.

So that still leaves the question how do we comply with the new rules AND what can we do on our own to insure that we are not transporting AIS to our favorite waters.

To summarize my findings...

1. Regulations vary state to state, but all of them say you won't be allowed to launch if you are not in compliance. So do your research, esp. if your trip involves driving across state lines. Some states might also require you buy a special AIS sticker.

2. Keep your gear 'Clean, Drained and Dry' to avoid hassles AND because that is the best way to avoid transporting nasty critters.

3. The rules target motor boats on still waters. This is because scientific studies show that a motor boat is 40x more likely to harbor invasive species than a non-motorized boat. AND the studies show that ALL of the documented contamination started at lakes or reservoirs. So, while you may not see a mandatory inspection at the whitewater boat ramps you will see them at most lakes and reservoirs. And you will see them at state lines and at random road side check points.

4. These rules DO APPLY to rafts, kayaks, float tubes, catarafts, SUP, etc. If you see a check point you must stop and have them check you out. In most cases the inspection will be a simple Q&A or a quick visual inspection. The primary focus is to educate us not to bust us. So if you can honestly say 'It has been 30 days since this boat was in infested water' or ' I let the boat dry for 7 days' you are going to be fine. At the inspection point they can require that you unpack and inflate a rolled boat for inspection.

5. If you had the foresight to get your boat inspected prior to the trip, or if you filled out 'self decontamination' forms you should be able to show them the paper work at the check station and be done. Not all states have reciprocity, so do some research.

6. While at the check point or the boat launch, if your boat has visible vegetation, mud or standing water you will be required to get 'professional decontamination' prior to launching. This will probably require driving several hundred miles to a certified decontamination unit. So keep you boat clean and dry.

7. All of the states East of Colorado, including Colorado are considered infested water. So if you don't live West of the Rocky Mtn's be prepared for extra scrutiny.

8. All of my research indicates that the two most effective methods of decontamination are drying for 7 or more days or washing with scalding water. So if you want to keep these critters out of your favorite fishing spot it makes sense to put your boots, waders, etc into a big dry bag and rinse it well with very hot water. Stuff that is too big for the dry bag should get a good rinse at the car wash then be allowed to dry for 7-18 days. Most car washes use heated water, not as hot as the 155 degree nozzle temp recommended but close. As long as the car wash does not drain directly into a waterway there is a low risk of spread.
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Old 11-14-2014   #37
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C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
Thanks Kengore for summarizing your findings. and the other web sites that you get permits from, will have to include some instructions on how to comply with these new laws and river stipulations. Hopefully they will address this new requirement when it comes time to apply this winter.

Don't you think they will have to put in decon stations at the take outs in order to have any effect on controlling the little buggers? I'm thinking of places like Dirty Devil take out.
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Old 11-14-2014   #38
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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With limited budgets to fight this huge problem they are going to focus resources where they are most cost effective. Placing a decon unit at Lake Powell where there is a supply of clean water and electricity is going to be cost effective. Setting up a similar unit at a whitewater take-out that does not have electricity or a non-contaminated source water is not, esp if we represent 1/40 of the risk.

I think the whitewater community is going to need to take care of this on our own. Decontamination is going to need to be part of a good wilderness ethic. Leave only footprints and wash your boat!

I hope is able to disseminate the required info, however I feel they already do a horrible job of providing any info about existing ramp resources such potable water, RV dumps and electric power availability. I doubt this will make the radar.
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Old 11-14-2014   #39
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,933
Interagency education and involvement is the achilles heals of these laws. I am not sure how the BLM in Utah is going to proceed. Will the Rangers at Deso, Westwater and the San Juan (the only ones I am aware of in Utah that have put-in locations manned on a regular basis) be trained and empowered to actually deal with this issue? Utah State and the federal agencies don't exactly have a friendly working relationship right now.

The Dirty Devil takeout is a worst case scenario for prevention standards. Its a dirt ramp with no infrastructure. Decontamination stations require boats to be trailered and ready to spray. The standard is for all water to be reclaimed in the process so they often line the area with some type of material. If Cataract Canyon and inflatable watercraft are enough of a concern and viable vector than that means investing in permanent ramps (not sure that is possible in the modern era of upper Lake Powell) and water facilities. It would likely be cheaper to rebuild the ramp at Hite to lower lake levels since they have existing infrastructure but the silt beds in that area aren't exactly friendly for such projects. Nor is the BoR or NPS committed to keeping the reservoir low enough for that option to be economically viable. As it stands the silty water there doesn't offer me much opportunity to "clean" my rig fully of mud and debris. As a Utah resident I can go home without a state line inspection but that is not an option for others (nor ideal for prevention). The spirit and letter of the laws as I understand prohibit out-of-state individuals from crossing back into their prospective states without decontaminating their rigs thoroughly.

Diamond Creek in the Grand is another location of concern with added issue of native lands. I am not sure what the statistics are on where most people exit the Grand. Pearce Ferry offers options. This one is a greater concern for me as I will be required to have a fully cleaned rig before crossing back into Utah legally without having my rig quarantined or forced to go through a state line decontamination. For those of us who derig at Diamond (as the prospect of seeing Diamond Down is depressing) this likely means adding a half day extra to our trip to thoroughly clean our rafts and gear (ropes, life jackets, etc).

Luckily, on the other end it is easy to leave Deso, Westwater and the Juan without decontaminating as they are not hosts to the invasives. Derig and go

At some point we are likely going to need to inventory the nuances of the whitewater community in regards to AIS issues and find representatives for each state to interact with the working groups and committees tasked with dealing with the laws and prevention. Many times they solicit stakeholder representatives to be thorough anyways but I am not sure how that is currently dealt with in AIS prevention.

As it stands we likely need to have a representative for all of Colorado (since its geographically considered infected as a whole), Arizona (same as aforementioned reason), Grand Canyon NP, and Glen Canyon NRA. I would imagine we would need to educate involved agencies about our equipment and behaviors as a community but also be an avenue of education for our community. We would need representatives to advocate for policy and infrastructure that allows us to comply with the law in a manner that is not overly cumbersome. Realistically we are going to need to get the involved agencies to adapt their current systems to accommodate us as our situation doesn't align well with how they interact with motorized hard-hulled stakeholders. In the short term we can adapt if they are flexible to our needs (as it sounds they are) but if this is a long term effort then I think the above is important. Ease on the user only makes cooperation more likely. It would be great if we stay within an education and cooperation framework and don't transition to a compliance based relationship.
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Old 11-14-2014   #40
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C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
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It will have to be on their radar if the rangers at the put in require your boat to have the proper Decon paperwork from Utah DNR before you can launch. It will be interesting to see how this pans out this Spring. I'll need to do some planning if they want decon certificates for each boat I'm hauling when I encounter the border inspection stations. I'll have to call the number on the form and see who in Colorado is licensed to meet their standards. The only people I know doing it are Parks and Wildlife at the local reservoirs. I can see the look on their face when I roll in and start inflating 10 boats so they can certify them deconed and ready to go to Utah......

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