HYRUM – Law enforcement officers and technicians for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources had a busy Fourth of July weekend working to prevent invasive quagga mussels from spreading.
At Hyrum State Park, officials found one boat with quagga mussels during the week of the Fourth of July, said Krystal Tucker, Division Wildlife Resources conservation office. Tucker is with the DWR Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) special duties. She is stationed in Davis County.
“We’ve had numerous mussels found on boats at Pineview Reservoir,” Tucker said. “Hyrum and Willard Bay had one boat each found with mussels on them.”
None of the mussels were alive but they are still a problem, she said.
Boats are inspected and if they find mussels, they are cleaned with hot water, then given an orange tag to show they have been decontaminated.
She said they have extra technicians and extra inspection stations around the state, even at Lake Powell. There are currently over 40 decontamination stations throughout the state. Before the Fourth of July weekend, additional stations, staff and law enforcement were added at Lake Powell and other areas.
These additional resources will be implemented again during other busy holiday weekends this year.
Tucker said they don’t like to inspect boats, but they don’t want people bringing mussels to other places in the state.
“I think our technicians are top notch,” she said. “We give them two, full, eight-hour days of training where they learn about boats and were quaggas can be found.”
The technicians are taught how to use hot water to decontaminate boats. She feels confident the system is working.
“We are trying to keep quagga mussels in place and not let them go to anywhere else in the state,” Tucker said. “We have to be careful to keep them any place but Lake Powell.”
She wants people to be aware that it takes more time to get their boats in the water because of inspections.
“The temperatures are rising, we want more people to be vigilant until the season ends in October,” Tucker said. “We have a good handle on what we need to do.”
There were 57 boats found with quagga mussels and 17 people cited after the holiday weekend at Lake Powell.
A total of 210 boats were decontaminated at stations in the Lake Powell area and Kanab from Saturday to Sunday. During those decontaminations, mussels were discovered on 157 of the boats, giving a stark reminder of why boaters must have their boats decontaminated when leaving Lake Powell.
“We are doing everything we can to protect Utah’s water infrastructure,” Scott Dalebout, the DWR statewide operations lieutenant said. “This isn’t just about preventing damage to boats — this is about making sure these invasive species don’t spread to other waterbodies where they will get into water pipelines and cause millions of dollars in damage to Utah’s water infrastructure. Every Utahn should absolutely be committed to doing what they can to prevent these mussels from spreading.”