Quagga mussels spotted in Northern Utah three times in the past eight days

This quagga mussel was among several found in the bow anchor compartment of a boat preparing to launch at Hyrum Reservoir on June 6. If the quaggas had made their way into the reservoir, the results could have been devastating.

Invasive quagga mussels have been found three times in the short span of eight days in Northern Utah. According to the Division of Wildlife Resources, quagga mussels were spotted on boats before they were able to launch at Willard Bay and Hyrum Reservoir.

Technicians with the DWR and Utah State Parks identified the mussels on the boats on June 4th at Willard Bay State Park, June 6th at Hyrum State Park and June 11th at Willard Bay State Park again. In two of the cases, the boats needed to be placed in quarantine before they would be allowed back in the water, one for as long as 14 days.

“Quagga mussels have infested Lake Powell,” DWR Lieutenant Scott Dalebout says, “and they’re spreading across the lake. It’s tough to see. We have to join together to prevent what’s happening at Lake Powell from happening at another water body in Utah.”

Dalebout, who leads efforts to prevent quagga mussels from spreading in Utah, says the recent incidents illustrate the importance of cleaning, draining and drying your boat after every boating trip.

DWR technicians and state park employees work together to inspect every boat before allowing it to be launched. Lt. David Bevridge, who leads the DWR’s law enforcement efforts in northern Utah, praised the cooperation he’s seeing between the DWR and Utah State Parks, but also says boaters need to do their part in preventing the spread of the invasive species.

Quagga mussels, and zebra mussels, can plug water lines, damage a lake or reservoir’s ecology and can damage a boat’s motor.

The Division of Wildlife Resources offers the following tips:

Clean: remove debris from the boat

Drain: drain all water out of the boat

Dry: allow the boat and boat/water filter, also called a sea strainer, to completely dry

More tips about that process can be found at www.stdofthesea.utah.gov.

Nathan Owens, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the DWR, reminds boaters to clean and dry any equipment that came in contact with the water, including anchors.

“Utah’s waters are tested for quagga mussels regularly,” Dalebout says in a statement, “but you never know when and where they might turn up. Cleaning, draining and drying your boat — after every boating trip — will help ensure any mussels that might have attached themselves to your boat, or gotten into its water supply, aren’t carried to another water. Please clean and dry your anchors and other equipment too.”

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