STOP! DON"T MOVE A MUSSEL.
Utah state wildlife officials are fearful that Quagga mussels may have made their way into the waters of Deer Creek Reservoir and are ordering that boats leaving the lake be decontaminated immediately.
Recent DNA tests conducted by two laboratories found microscopic juvenile Quagga mussels in a water samples taken from the reservoir.
The discovery, however, does not necessarily mean Deer Creek Reservoir is infested with the invasive mussels.
Jordan Nielson, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said "We've found juvenile Quagga mussels in the past at other waters in Utah. With the exception of Lake Powell, mussel populations never established themselves in the waters where juveniles have been found. We're hoping that will be the case at Deer Creek, too."
The Quagga mussel, is currently of major concern in the lakes of Utah. It is as an invasive species that first showed up in Utah a few years ago and the Division of Wildlife is trying to limit the potential damage this mussel can cause. Quaggas are prodigious water filterers, removing substantial amounts of phytoplankton and suspended particulate from the water. By removing the phytoplankton, Quaggas in turn decrease the food source for zooplankton, therefore altering the food web and alter the entire ecosystems. Additionally, their ability to rapidly colonize hard surfaces causes serious economic problems. These can clog water intake structures, such as pipes and screens, therefore reducing pumping capabilities for power and water treatment plants, costing industries, companies, and communities. They also create problems for recreation-based industries, docks, break walls, buoys, boats, and beaches have all been heavily colonized.
Nielson added that it could be that the young mussels made their way into the reservoir via transport on a boat that came from contaminated water.
To prevent further potential spread of the devastating mussels, the division is ordering the immediate decontamination of any boat leaving Deer Creek.
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We Fish Utah Staff