It started for Utah back in 2008. That was the year boaters in Utah had to begin inspecting watercraft because quagga mussels had been detected in nearby Lake Mead in Nevada. Despite the best efforts, this invasive species was detected in Utah's Lake Powell in 2012. While the mussels have been detected in Utah, the Division of Wildlife Resources has been very proactive in preventing the spread of mussels to other areas of the state.

Boat inspections, and decontamination began at Lake Powell, but, according to a press release from the DWR, the prevention program has grown to include 40 inspection locations through out the state on boat ramps and along some Utah highways.

So far this year, the DWR along with Utah State Parks have performed 181,958 boat inspections, along with 3,289 watercraft decontamination's through August 18th. Eight boats were found to have quagga mussels. The inspection station at Lake Powell has been the busiest in the state so far this year performing 43,116 of the inspections statewide. Deer Creek Reservoir and Sand Hollow Reservoir round out the top three.

Don't Move A Mussel

Courtesy Division of Wildlife Resources
Courtesy Division of Wildlife Resources

To help boaters with the inspection process, the DWR has launched a new dashboard to help gauge how busy the state's inspection locations are. Even with this tool, boaters are still encouraged to schedule a time for watercraft decontamination.

All watercraft leaving Lake Powell are required to have an exit inspection for the hours the station is in operation. The DWR reminds boaters that an inspection is different from decontamination. Decontamination must take place before the watercraft can launch in a different water body. If a watercraft can not be decontaminated, it must wait the required dry time before launching again. The dry time during summer is seven days, increases to 18 days in the spring and fall, and 30 days in the winter.

Mussels were identified in Red Fleet Reservoir and Electric Lake in 2008, and at Deer Creek Reservoir in 2014. However, those waterbodies were later confirmed clear of mussels. At this point, only Lake Powell is the Utah water body with quagga mussels.

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