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CPW News Release
CPW News Release
Silt Water Conservancy District requests CPW close Harvey Gap Reservoir to some watercraft

Silt Water Conservancy District requests CPW close Harvey Gap Reservoir to some watercraft
Silt Water Conservancy District requests CPW close Harvey Gap Reservoir to some watercraft
Mike Porras
SILT, Colo. - At the request of Silt Water Conservancy District, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will immediately close Harvey Gap Reservoir to any watercraft normally requiring an aquatic nuisance species inspection. These typically include boats, trailers, gasoline or diesel motors and the inspection of boat compartments and other associated equipment.

Due to a current funding shortfall, CPW will not conduct mandatory ANS inspections at the reservoir, located northwest of Silt. Without inspections, the risk of a harmful invasive species infestation increases.

Typically open April 1, the boat ramp at Harvey Gap will remain locked while restrictions are in place.

During the closure, only the following hand-launched vessels are exempt from ANS inspections at Harvey Gap Reservoir and can enter the water:
  • Rafts
  • Kayaks
  • Belly boats
  • Float tubes
  • Canoes
  • Windsurfer boards
  • Sailboards
  • Paddle boards
  • Inner tubes
Any of the above vessels powered by electric motors are allowed; however, gasoline or diesel powered motors are prohibited because they have a greater potential to hold aquatic nuisance species. All allowed vessels must be launched only from existing roads and parking lots.

Farmers Irrigation Company owns the reservoir.  The Silt Water Conservancy District is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the reservoir and associated irrigation water delivery infrastructure. CPW leases the surface of the reservoir and manages the park's trails, day-use areas and fishery.

"If any vessel were to go in the water with just a few of these mussels, they could eventually take over and cause irreversible damage," said Scot Dodero of Silt Water Conservancy District. "An infestation will have a devastating impact to local landowners that depend on the water for irrigation. We cannot take that risk."

Invasive species can include zebra and quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnail, Asian carp, rusty crayfish, Eurasian watermilfoil, and other plants and animals. As is the current situation in many lakes and reservoirs across the U.S., zebra and quagga mussel populations can quickly grow to the billions, clogging reservoir infrastructure and endangering the food chain.

Brian Palcer, manager of Harvey Gap, Rifle Gap and Rifle Falls State Parks, says nearby Rifle Gap Reservoir will remain open with an ANS inspection station. The boat ramp at Rifle Gap State Park will open April 1.

"You can enjoy boating and great fishing at Rifle Gap, which is only a few miles away," he said. "We encourage the public to visit all of our great parks at the Rifle Gap complex. There is still much to enjoy."

Palcer adds CPW staff will monitor Harvey Gap Reservoir and will issue citations to anyone violating the closure.

CPW used a risk-prioritization process to determine which reservoirs are at a higher risk for mussel introduction and establishment. Rifle Gap Reservoir will continue to provide an ANS inspection and decontamination station for the 2017 season as CPW considers it to be at higher-risk than Harvey Gap.

With funding for Aquatic Nuisance Inspection stations currently limited, water managers across the state have requested similar restrictions at reservoirs and lakes without state certified inspection stations. If alternative funds are secured in the near future, reservoirs without ANS inspection stations may resume normal operations.

For more information about restrictions at Harvey Gap Reservoir, contact Rifle Gap State Park at 970-625-1607.

For questions about water operations of Harvey Gap Reservoir, contact the Silt Water Conservancy District at 970-876-2393 or by email at

For more information about the Aquatic Nuisance Species inspection program, visit the CPW website.

CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.
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