Quagga mussels: Agencies set records for vessel inspection, decontamination
Jan 03, 2019 | 193 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The partnership of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the boating community has set records in 2018 for vessel inspection and decontamination for quagga mussels.

The two agencies contacted over 200,000 visitors, inspected over 64,000 vessels, and decontaminated over 4,200 vessels at five primary launch ramps at Lake Powell. Additionally, over 140 boats were placed in quarantine statewide.

“We appreciate our partnership with the State of Utah and our boating community to contain the quagga mussel infestation to Lake Powell and to prevent its spread to other water bodies,” said Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Superintendent William Shott. “In 2017, the Department of the Interior released the Safeguarding the West Initiative and we are coordinating with federal, state, tribal and private partners at multiple park units across the West on quagga/zebra mussel prevention and containment efforts.”

“Lake Powell’s quagga mussel situation is always evolving, which requires us to be nimble and proactive as we work together as partnering agencies,” said DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator Nathan Owens. “This year we saw lower water levels, resulting in more boats having mussels aboard their vessels than in past years. By working together we identified these new challenges and allowed our inspection and decontamination processes to change to meet the increased needs.”

Earlier this year, technicians were finding quagga mussels on and in boats that had only been in Lake Powell for a day or two, something boaters hadn’t experienced in the past. As a result, DNR and NPS increased inspection, decontamination and enforcement efforts. Enhanced training was also incorporated to focus on anchor and sea strainer inspections and the flushing of cooling intakes and water systems. The adjustments proved successful.

More will be done in 2019 to further expand efforts to keep quagga mussels from reaching other Utah lakes and reservoirs, according to a statement from the DNR. Gov. Gary Herbert proposed in his 2020 fiscal year budget plan an additional $405,000. If approved, new AIS funding will be used to add needed technicians and equipment to increase the efficiency of inspection and decontamination efforts at Lake Powell.


Invasive species impact ecosystems
Mussels can’t be eradicated once present


Aquatic invasive species can impair the delivery of water and power, diminish boating and fishing, and devastate lake ecosystem health, officials say. Once they are present, quagga mussels cannot be eradicated and the efforts to contain and manage the impacts can cost millions of dollars.

“Combining containment efforts with proactive prevention at receiving waters is the most effective way to stop the spread and cannot be done by one agency alone. It is only accomplished through agency collaboration and ongoing partnerships with the boating community. The boating public is the first and most important line of defense. By effectively cleaning, draining and drying their vessels before launching in another body of water they can help stop the spread of invasive species,” said the DNR press release.

First introduced by the shipping industry to the Great Lakes in the 1980s, zebra and quagga mussels spread outward via natural dispersion and watercraft to other regions of the country. They are among the many invasive species causing economic and ecological harm across the United States. While inspection and decontamination efforts mitigate risk, they are not always 100 percent effective. “All boaters are responsible to adequately clean, drain and dry after every use. Through containment and prevention programs and the help of the boating community, we can safeguard our national parks, state lakes and reservoirs and other western waters,” DNR officials said.




Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.