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Public Lands

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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

New Zealand Invader May Wreak Havoc on Colorado Streams

BOULDER—A tiny mollusk that has crippled stretches of streams and rivers in other western states has recently been confirmed in Colorado waters. The New Zealand mudsnail, a native of the Southern Hemisphere, was recently discovered in Boulder Creek. This raises concerns that the fast-spreading invertebrate could soon spread to other Colorado streams, potentially overwhelming aquatic habitat and harming fish populations.

Known as a ‘nuisance species,’ this exotic invader has no natural predators in North America. Once established, the mudsnail can quickly carpet a stream bottom, upsetting the balance of the native aquatic environment and disrupting the food web. The creature is also highly resilient, able to survive several days out of water and tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The tiny invertebrates, measuring no more than five millimeters in length, can even pass unscathed through the digestive tracts of fish. Because they can reproduce asexually, a single New Zealand mudsnail can colonize a new area.

‘It's an extremely tough little organism,’ says Peter Walker, senior fish pathologist for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. ‘They can cause a lot of damage. These snails are highly adaptable and reproduce in such great numbers that they can actually lock up the available nutrients in an ecosystem.’

It's likely the snail hitched its way to Colorado aboard muddy waders or other fishing equipment. The Division of Wildlife is advising anglers to take precautions to help halt the snail's spread by washing fishing gear and inspecting boats and watercraft, and allowing all equipment to dry thoroughly before heading into new waters.

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