HURRICANE – As of Monday, a bill was passed that allowed the classification of Sand Hollow Reservoir to be termed non-contaminated with quagga mussels. This came after a three-year-track of scrupulous monitoring and testing for any signs of mussels.
About four years ago on May 21, 2010, a diver discovered one quagga mussel in Sand Hollow Reservoir attached to the submerged structure of the boat dock, Sand Hollow State Complex Park Manager, Laura Melling, said. At which point, Sand Hollow Reservoir was put under cautionary restrictions and had to decontaminate watercraft after departure from the water.
“When we found the one mussel we became worried about the possibility of reproduction,” Melling said. “But in order for mussels to reproduce, they have to be within 18 inches of another mussel.”
Once a quagga mussel is unveiled, the body of water that contains it is put on a three-year track classified as contaminated. Continuous testing is imperative to finding conclusive results as to whether or not the mussel has died or reproduced.
After three years of being designated as infested, the regulation has been relieved.
“There is no evidence or DNA that can be found to suggest that there are any other mussels in Sand Hollow,” wildlife department spokesman Lynn Chamberlain said.
A red warning sign now stands before the toll booth at Sand Hollow State Park, but instead of cautioning about the quagga mussels being in the reservoir, it now advises that any watercraft having been in Lake Powell or any other mussel-affected body of water within the previous 30 days must be decontaminated before entering.
For a four-year stretch, park managers and government employees were diligent in directing an abundance of time and energy to decontaminating boats after they emerged from Sand Hollow Reservoir, now they can focus on checking boats as they come in and engage in education about decontaminating.
“I’m excited about this because I can put more time into checking boats rather than washing boats,” Melling said.
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