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Quagga Mussel Checkpoints


Boats will be required to stop at this checkpoint in Daniels Canyon
Boats will be required to stop at this checkpoint in Daniels Canyon
Photo courtesy Candace Hutchinson, Utah DWR

New Quagga mussel checkpoints will be held near Lake Powell and in Daniels Canyon near Strawberry Reservoirs this year.

Boater receives warning

Lake Powell - Quagga mussel checkpoints will be held near Lake Powell this year. The first one happened May 13.

That day, conservation officers with the Division of Wildlife Resources checked 11 boats at a checkpoint near Big Water on U.S. Highway 89. One of the 11 boats had dead mussels on it. In this instance, the boat owner received a warning for not completing the first part of a three-step decontamination process-cleaning mud, plants and debris off his boat after removing it from Lake Powell.

Jordan Nielson, aquatic invasive species (AIS) coordinator for the DWR, says Lake Powell is infested with quagga mussels. "It's vital-and also Utah state law-that boat owners clean all of the mud, plants, debris and shelled organisms off their boat after pulling it out of the water," he says. "Also, you must drain all of the water that's inside the boat before you leave the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area."

The third step of the decontamination process-drying your boat for a specific period of time-must be completed before the boat can be placed on a water other than Lake Powell. Nielson says the dry times are different during different times of the year. For example, in the summer, you must allow your boat to dry for seven days before placing it on another water.

You can learn how to complete the simple three-step decontamination process at www.stdofthesea.com or www.wildlife.utah.gov/decontaminate.

If you want to place your boat on a body of water sooner than the seven-day drying time, you'll need to get it professionally decontaminated.

The decontaminations are free. To schedule a decontamination, call any Utah State Park that has a reservoir. You can also contact your nearest DWR AIS biologist. Phone numbers for the biologists are available at http://1.usa.gov/1RqPkUU.

Why the concern?

There are many reasons why Utahns don't want quagga mussels, or their cousins, zebra mussels, moved from Lake Powell to other waters in Utah:

- Mussels can plug water lines, even very large diameter ones.

If mussels get into water delivery systems in Utah, it will cost millions of dollars to try to remove them. Utahns would likely pay for the removal through higher utility bills.

Quagga Mussel Inspection Station at Daniels Canyon

Station opened May 29

Heber City -- In an on-going effort to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species-including quagga mussels-the Utah Department of Natural Resources and the Utah Department of Transportation have opened a watercraft inspection station at the Daniels Canyon port of entry.

Beginning May 29, vehicles with watercraft, including boats, personal watercraft (such as Jet Skis and Wave Runners), canoes, kayaks, float tubes and similar watercraft will be required to stop at the port of entry for inspection during hours when the station is open.

The port of entry is along U.S. Highway 40, just southeast of Heber City (near mile marker 22).

U.S. 40 is a popular route for vehicles with watercraft traveling from the Wasatch Front toward Strawberry Reservoir and waters in the Uinta Basin.

Candace Hutchinson, regional aquatic invasive species biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the inspection station will be open only during certain hours. "Signs along Highway 40-near the port of entry-will indicate if the inspection station is operating," she says.

Hutchinson says you will not be required to stop at the port of entry unless signs indicate the station is open for watercraft inspections. Also, vehicles with watercraft traveling the opposite way down the canyon-northwest toward Heber City-will not be required to stop.

When the inspection station is operating, all watercraft will be inspected. If you haven't recently visited a body of water that's infested with quagga mussels, or that's suspected of having quagga mussels in it, your wait should be short.

Your wait should also be short if you've been on an infested or suspected water, but you've decontaminated your watercraft on your own, including allowing it to dry for at least seven days. The wait will also be short for watercraft that have been professionally decontaminated with hot water.

Watercraft that have not been properly decontaminated must be decontaminated before leaving the port of entry. "The decontamination process can take up to 30 minutes for larger boats and less time for smaller watercraft," Hutchinson says.

To avoid the wait, before traveling up Daniels Canyon, you can make an appointment at most major Utah State Parks to get your watercraft professionally decontaminated. For a list of locations with hot water decontamination services, and for other information about aquatic invasive species, visit www.stdofthesea.com.

Why the concern?

There are many reasons why Utahns don't want quagga mussels, or their cousins, zebra mussels, in the state of Utah:

- Mussels can plug water lines, even very large diameter ones.

If mussels get into water delivery systems in Utah, it will cost millions of dollars to try to remove them. Utahns would likely pay for the removal through higher utility bills.