Don’t Mussel Your Way In To Lake Powell
It was a busy Memorial Gay weekend for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, along with personnel from Utah State Parks, Arizona Game and Fish Department, along with the National Park Service. The motive of their weekend work was to prevent the invasive quagga mussels in Lake Powell and other states from spreading to other waterbodies in Utah
In all, 8,556 boats were inspected through out Utah and 103 decontaminations were preformed from Friday through Monday. Of those numbers, 2,135 inspections and 39 decontaminations took place at inspections stations in the Lake Powell area.
This was an increase of around 3,000 inspections and an increase of 48 decontaminations from Memorial Day weekend in 2022.
During the weekend, 52 citations and warnings were issued in Utah by conservation officers. Only four citations were issued for Memorial Day weekend a year ago. Most of the violations were from one of these three reasons.
Boaters and others with watercraft failing to stop at an inspection station.
Boaters failing to remove their drain plugs while transporting their boats
Boaters failing to take the required aquatics invasive species education course and not paying the associated aquatic invasive species fee.
So why all the fuss over this tiny creature? Quagga mussels, once inside a pipeline can clog and plug those pipelines even if they are somewhat large in diameter. If mussels get in to water delivery systems, it would cost millions of dollars each year to keep the pipes clear, and that would drive up utility costs.
Mussels remove plankton from the water, which would hurt fish species here in Utah.
Of particular note to boaters, quagga mussels can get in to the boat's engine cooling system. If that happens, they would foul up the system and cause damage to the engine.
And when mussels die, they stink and the sharp shells of dead mussels also can cut your feet as you walk along the beaches of Utah waterways.
There are some 40 inspection stations located at various waterbody boat ramps, along highways and at Port of Entry stations throughout Utah. If you would like to find out more about boater requirements, including new regulations that take effect this coming July 1st, visit this website. The website also has a full listing of inspection and decontamination stations in Utah.