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Leave the mussels behind after boating on Lake Powell

Quagga mussels
Posted at 8:11 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 22:11:07-04

LAKE POWELL, Utah — Utah's Division of Wildlife Services (DWR) was busy over the Independence Day weekend helping to keep Utah free--free from invasive quagga mussels that cling to boats after leaving Lake Powell.

What makes these mussels so bad?

They can plug water supply systems, steal food from game fish, plug water lines, and damage boat engines.

Statewide, the DWR together with Utah State Parks, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the National Park Service inspected 19,025 boats and performed 381 decontaminations over the long weekend, slightly down from last year's totals.

"Boating numbers were lower than this time last year, likely due to the lower water levels at Lake Powell, but it is still very important for every boater who does visit Lake Powell to make sure they aren't transporting invasive quagga mussels when they leave," said DWR Aquatic Invasive Species Sgt. Micah Evans.

Statewide, DWR conservation officers issued 119 citations for violations of Utah laws established to prevent the spread of invasive mussels, the majority of which were because of boaters failing to complete the mandatory education course and fee payment, which went into effect last year.

"In order to keep our Utah waters mussel free, we need public support and compliance," DWR Aquatic Invasive Species Sgt. Krystal Tucker said.

"We want to remind people to be patient and to work with our staff at the inspection stations," Evans said. "Our employees are doing a difficult job under extremely hot, harsh working conditions. Cooperating with them speeds up the process and makes things run more smoothly so you can get on and off the water more quickly."

There are over 40 inspection stations located at various water bodies and along highways throughout Utah. Visit the DWR website for a list of all the decontamination stations around the state.