Lake Powell infested with invasive mussels

Quagga mussels stuck to a boat's propeller, location and time unknown | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

PAGE, Ariz. – Officials with the National Park Service and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced Tuesday they have detected additional adult quagga mussels in Lake Powell.

Due to water levels that have dropped over the last year and exposed previously submerged shoreline, thousands of quagga mussels have been found in various locations across the reservoir, according to a news release issued by the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.

Officials reported finding just 14 adult quagga mussels at the reservoir in late March last year.

The invasive mussels were found on canyon walls, Glen Canyon Dam, boats, and other underwater structures. The majority of mussels found are isolated adults, with additional groupings of small clusters. One adult mussel was found on the south canyon wall of Bullfrog Bay.

Boat inspections and decontamination of high risk boats are still required for incoming vessels at Glen Canyon, which includes Lake Powell. Continued mussel education and prevention activities, including boat inspections, will minimize the chances that mussels will colonize other areas of the lake. It may also prevent the introduction of other aquatic invasive species.

Utah and Arizona law require all watercraft to be decontaminated before being taken to a new body of water.

To help stop the spread of mussels:

  • You must clean and drain your boat before you leave the vicinity of the lake.
  • You must dry your boat the required amount of time before moving it to another body of water.
  • Or you can have your boat professionally decontaminated.

A planning effort is currently underway to develop a Quagga/Zebra Mussel Management Plan to help the National Park Service decide what tools are appropriate to support the ongoing management of invasive mussels in Glen Canyon Recreation Area now that quagga mussels are present in Lake Powell. The Quagga/Zebra Mussel Management Plan will consider changes to the existing prevention and monitoring efforts, and will include analysis of potential control, containment, and other park management actions.

Additional information on the plan as well as the opportunity to comment or make suggestions are provided on the National park Service website.

Why the concern over the mussels?

The following are reasons why you should be concerned about quagga mussels:

  • Mussels can plug water lines, even very large diameter ones.
  • Mussels remove plankton from the water column, the same plankton that supports 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, they stink; and their sharp shells can cut your feet as you walk along the beaches where the mussels died.

For more information about aquatic invasive species, visit wildlife.utah.gov and search for “Utah’s AIS Management Plan.”

Additional information on the plan as well as the opportunity to comment or make suggestions are provided on the National park Service website.

Related posts:

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Quagga mussels stuck to a boat's propeller, location and time unknown | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Quagga mussels stuck to a boat’s propeller, location and time unknown | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

 

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7 Comments

  • Paul Harmer February 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    It’s a concern, but we all know fighting the quagga mussels is a major source of revenue for the park service. So, I take this news with a grain of salt. Notice the picture is NOT from Lake Powell – there’s a reason they don’t show us photos of Powell Mussels.

    • RR February 28, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Paul, you apparently don’t understand the seriousness of these mussels. If you like to have raw water delivered via pipeline for any type of use, these mussels will foul up and plug the water delivery system. Yes, you could dump lots of chemicals into the water to inhibit their colonization in the pipes, but that then that brings other consequences to the end user of the water. It was probably boaters which had an “it’s no big deal”, and or a “I don’t need to worry about them” attitude about the mussels that introduced them into Lake Powell in the first place.
      It will take about 5 years until Lake Powell will look like Lake Mead regarding quagga mussels, then photos of mussel encrusted props and boat hulls can be taken at Powell.

      • Bub February 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

        So how will the proposed Lake Powell pipeline to St George water all the golf courses if it’s plugged up with these varmints? Will a man crawl through all two-hundred odd miles of it and scrape them by hand? What will this cost?

        • DB February 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm

          I think you put a screen/filter at the intake and clean THAT off periodically. As for your cooking tip, why stop at a “pinch” of garlic? 🙂

          • Bender February 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm

            Do some Googling of the quagga mussels DB. A simple screen/filter won’t solve the problem.

  • Bub February 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    If you saute them in butter with a pinch of garlic they are no longer a problem.

  • Bender February 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Add some costly changes to the preliminary design of the Lake Powell Pipeline and increment the Operations and Maintenance estimate by 50%.

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