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Utah's waterways may fill this summer, but boaters must prevent quagga mussel invasion

Decontamination station
Posted at 1:06 PM, May 30, 2023

Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources had a busy holiday weekend as stepped up efforts to prevent the invasive quagga mussel found in Lake Powell from clogging the state's other water bodies.

Quagga mussels can also find their way into Utah's waterways after attaching to a boat that's been used in another state.

These invaders can clog water lines, remove plankton that fish need to survive, damage boat engines, and wash up on shore after dying, fouling public beaches.

DWR, Utah State Parks, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the National Park Service inspected 8,556 boats and performed 103 decontaminations over the weekend, with around a quarter of this number occurring at inspection stations near Lake Powell.

This is nearly double the number performed over the 2022 Memorial Day weekend.

“We are excited to have more boaters coming back to enjoy Utah’s waters this year,” said DWR Aquatic Invasive Species Lt. Bruce Johnson.

“But we want to remind boaters to recreate responsibly, which includes knowing the rules and regulations for not inadvertently transporting aquatic invasive species around Utah.

All watercraft leaving Lake Powell require an exit inspection during the inspection station’s hours of operation. 'Watercraft' includes kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and inflatable rafts.

It is important to remember that inspections are not the same as decontaminations.

After a watercraft is inspected, it must still be decontaminated before relaunching at another waterbody.

If a decontamination can’t be performed, the watercraft must wait the required dry time before launching again."