Boats leaving Lake Powell must be decontaminated
Searchers are still finding quagga mussels at Lake Powell. As summer gets closer, you need to be aware of a three-step process you must put your boat through if it's been on the lake.
So far this spring, searchers have found more than 115 quagga mussels attached to boats and boat docks at the Wahweap and Antelope Point marinas at the lake in southern Utah. Larry Dalton, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says searchers will likely find more mussels as they continue looking.
"No matter where you boat in Utah," Dalton says, "it's absolutely vital that you clean, drain and dry your boat and any equipment that comes in contact with the water."
Once mussels establish themselves in a body of water, Dalton says it's extremely difficult, expensive and sometimes impossible to remove them.
To reduce the chance that boaters accidently transport mussels from Lake Powell to other bodies of water in Utah, effective immediately, you must do the following:
Before you leave Lake Powell, you must begin a three-step decontamination process. Before you leave the lake, you must clean all mud, plants, mussels and other debris off of your boat. You must also drain all of the raw water from the boat's bilge, live and bait wells, ballast tanks and lower engine unit.
After you've completed the first two steps (cleaning and draining your boat), you can legally leave the lake to travel into or through Utah where you must complete a third step: Drying your boat at home or having the boat serviced at a professional decontamination station.
If you've been boating on Lake Powell, you cannot launch your boat at any water in Utah until you've completed all three decontamination steps.
Mussels can plug water lines, even very large diameter ones. Dalton says widespread infestation by quagga or zebra mussels could cost Utahns more than $15 million each year to maintain Utah's water delivery systems. Mussels remove plankton from the water column, the same plankton that support Utah's sport fish and native fish. The mussels could devastate fisheries in Utah.
Mussels can damage your boat by attaching themselves to your boat's hull and fouling the boat's engine cooling system.
When mussels die in large numbers, their sharp shells can foul beaches and cut your feet as you walk along the beach.