National Park Service authorities say they have removed 150 invasive adult quagga mussels from vessel and dock structures at two marinas on the south end of Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Marine service workers alerted recreation area personnel to possible quagga mussels on a vessel recently removed from the reservoir back in March. Further inspection confirmed four of the non-native and troublesome creatures on the boat. Dive teams then discovered 10 more attached to submerged items in the area where the boat had been on the water.
National Park Service biologists reported in March, and again with this update, that the mussels were not close enough to each other to reproduce.
"With this early detection, the mussels are being physically removed from the lake, decreasing the potential for them to reproduce," said Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Superintendent Todd Brindle.
Boats, docks and cables in the Wahweap Bay and Antelope Point marina areas will continue to be searched for mussels.
The mussels have caused extensive damage across the country since landing in the Great Lakes decades ago. State officials estimate an infestation in Utah could cost more than $15 million annually if the 6,000 miles of pipes and canals and numerous dams become coated with the creatures.
The mussels can also severely impact fisheries and aquatic life and tourism as a result of sharp shells lining the beaches of popular recreation areas.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area ecologist Mark Anderson said the mussels were "likely introduced via ballast or bilge water from a boat that was not cleaned, drained or dried."
Several boats have been stopped at the boat launching ramps at Lake Powell in recent years with live mussels attached. All boats launching at Powell must undergo an inspection and possibly a decontamination before entering the water at the recreation area or face a fine.
The first sign of a quagga mussel at Lake Powell showed up in a water sample in the summer of 2007.
After the initial confirmation of live adult quagga mussels, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Director Greg Sheehan ordered that all boats leaving Lake Powell be decontaminated to prevent the spread of invasive species to other Utah waters.
Decontaminating your boat
Decontamination is the only way to stop the spread of invasive quagga mussels. It does not harm your boat. It can actually prevent damage to your boat by removing mussels that would clog pumps and hoses. There are two ways to decontaminate your boat after pulling it out of the water:
Clean, drain dry • Clean mud, plants, animals or other debris from your boat and equipment. Drain the ballast tanks, bilge, livewells and motor. Dry it out (seven days summer, 18 days spring/fall and 30 days in the winter) or freeze (three days).
Professional decontamination • An alternative method (generally a free service) is available at many Utah waters. Certified personnel will wash your trailer and boat inside and out flushing your ballast tanks, bilge, livewells and motor with high-pressure, scalding (140Â° F) water. This method is effective and does not harm your boat.
For an informational video, go to http://bit.ly/12v7ydP.