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Outdoors and Travel

Utah’s quagga mussel battle continues with boating regulations at Lake Powell, Deer Creek Reservoir

First Published      Last Updated Mar 13 2017 11:49 am

State officials declared war on the pesky quagga mussels a few years ago, and the fight will continue with regulations at two popular boating waters.

Starting this year, those who have gone boating at Lake Powell or Deer Creek Reservoir must remove the drain plugs from their boats and not replace them until they get home.

In addition, if your boat has been slipped or moored at Lake Powell for two weeks or more, you must do the following before leaving the reservoir:

• Call the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources aquatic invasive species specialists at Lake Powell to arrange an inspection of your boat. At Bullfrog, the number is 435-299-9562. The number at Wahweap is 435-592-9723.



• If mussels are found on your boat, you will be directed to a private business. You will have to pay the business to professionally decontaminate your boat.

• If the specialist finds that mussels have attached themselves to your boat, you must let the boat dry for the required amount of time — 18 days in the spring and seven days in the summer — before launching anywhere else in Utah. The dry-time requirement is in addition to getting your boat professionally decontaminated.

Fines for knowingly transporting a boat that has mussels attached to it are steep, according to the DWR. The violation is a Class A misdemeanor with fines up to $1,950 and restitution to the DWR for any costs to decontaminate and quarantine your boat.

The DWR's Nate Owens says the Utah Wildlife Board recently approved the changes to lessen the chance that quagga mussels are moved from Lake Powell or Deer Creek to other waterways.

Since juvenile mussels — called veligers — have not been found at Deer Creek since they were initially discovered in 2014, biologists will be able to declare the reservoir mussel free in 2018.

Mussels are a problem because they plug water lines, even those that are large in diameter. If the mussels were to get into water pipes, it would cost millions to try to remove them. They can foul a boat engine's cooling system and damage the engine. Mussels also can devastate fisheries. Finally, when they die in large numbers, they stink. Their sharp shells can cut your feet when you walk along the beaches.

 

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