The Division of Wildlife Resources recently announced two new requirements for boaters in Utah to help stop the spread of invasive Quagga mussel. These new requirements pertain specifically to Lake Powell and Deer Creek Reservoir.
The first mandatory requirement for boaters who visit Lake Powell or Deer Creek Reservoir pertains to the transportation of their boat. In addition to stopping at all mandatory inspection stations which has already been a requirement, they must also remove the drain plugs from their boat and keep them removed while travelling. This will help the boat dry out quickly and more thoroughly and further help reduce the spread of Quagga Mussels to other waters.
The second mandatory requirement only pertains to Lake Powell. Boaters must call a DWR aquatic invasive species specialist to perform an inspection of their boat if they have been docked at Lake Powell for two weeks or longer before they can go to another body of water. If Quagga mussels are found on the boat, the owner will be directed to a private business near Lake Powell where they will have to pay to have their boat professionally decontaminated. The boat owner must then let the boat dry for the required amount of time which is 18 days in the spring and fall and 7 days in the summer before they can launch the boat on any other body of water.
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.
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We Fish Utah Staff