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Tips for a Quick Exit from Lake Powell and Deer Creek

Quagga mussels - 4th of July weekend
Quagga mussels - 4th of July weekend
Quagga mussels cover the bottom of a boat dock at Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell. The state of Utah is working hard to prevent mussels from spreading to other waters in the state.
photo by Jordan Nielson, Utah DWR

DWR provides boaters and anglers with July 4 weekend tips

The spread of quagga mussels in Lake Powell-and the possibility that the invasive invaders might be in Deer Creek Reservoir-have added to the time it takes boaters and anglers to leave both areas.

If boaters aren't prepared, a mandatory visit with an aquatic invasive species (AIS) technician, coupled with extra boats, could make leaving either area a time-consuming process over the July 4 holiday weekend.

But there's good news too: if you do two simple things, before pulling in line to leave the area, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to be on your way.

Jordan Nielson, AIS coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), says technicians go through a detailed, systematic process to ensure boats are free of mussels. If you clean all of the mud, plants and debris off your boat-and drain all of the water out it-your visit with an AIS technician should last a couple of minutes.

The last part of the self-decontamination process-letting your boat and any equipment that came in contact with the water dry for seven days before using it again-can be done at home.

You can learn more about the three-step clean, drain and dry process at www.stdofthesea.com.

Two reasons

Nielson says many boaters believe their boat must be professionally decontaminated with hot water before they can leave the area. "That isn't the case," he says. "As long as you drain all of the water out of your boat-and you didn't find any attached mussels during the cleaning process-you can leave the area pretty fast."

Nielson says if you can't completely dry your boat before placing it on the water again, DWR or Utah State Parks technicians will help you determine the best way to make sure your boat is decontaminated and that you're keeping Utah's waters safe.

Nielson says the DWR and Utah State Parks are doing the inspections for two reasons: to keep quagga mussels from spreading to other waters in Utah and to keep people from being cited. Transporting a mussel in or on a boat is a Class A misdemeanor in Utah. "If you're caught doing that," he says, "you could be fined as much as $5,000 and spend time in jail."

Already this summer, DWR and Utah State Park officers have caught and cited people who broke the law.

"Our technicians have immediate contact with law enforcement officers in the area," Nielson says. "DWR and State Parks officers are also conducting random checkpoints at areas near the two waters."

Why the concern?

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

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

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