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Nearly 4,300 boats inspected for quagga mussels during Labor Day weekend

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Salt Lake City — Law enforcement officers and technicians with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and other agencies were hard at work over the holiday weekend, inspecting and decontaminating watercraft to prevent the spread of invasive quagga mussels.

Aquatic invasive species decontamination dip tank at Lake Powell

Lake Powell dip tank

Statewide, aquatic invasive species technicians with the DWR, Utah State Parks, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the National Park Service inspected 4,299 boats and performed 133 decontaminations from Friday to Monday. Of those total numbers, 1,194 of the boat inspections and 45 of the decontaminations took place at inspection stations in the Lake Powell area.

During the 2022 Labor Day weekend, 14,712 inspections were performed statewide, and 174 boats were decontaminated.

The Utah Lake dip tank has been very instrumental in helping decontaminate boats in northern Utah since it was installed in May, and completed its 700th decontamination over the Labor Day weekend. It is the second dip tank in Utah. (The Lake Powell dip tank was installed in May 2021.) A third dip tank was recently installed at Sand Hollow State Park and will be open for public use in a few weeks.

"We know it has been a busy and fun boating summer with high water levels at many of our reservoirs and lakes," DWR Aquatic Invasive Species Lieutenant Bruce Johnson said. "We want to thank all the boaters for their support and cooperation with our aquatic invasive species staff. We ask all boaters to visit the STD of the Sea website for information on boating requirements and for any questions they may have."

There are over 40 inspection stations located at various waterbody boat ramps, along highways and at Port of Entry stations throughout Utah. Visit the STD of the Sea website for a list of all the decontamination stations around the state and for further information regarding boater requirements, including new requirements that went into effect July 1.

Why quagga mussels are bad

  • They plug water lines, even lines that are large in diameter.
  • If they get into water delivery systems in Utah, it will cost millions of dollars annually to remove them and keep the pipes free, which can result in higher utility bills.
  • They remove plankton from the water, which hurts fish species in Utah.
  • Mussels get into your boat's engine cooling system. Once they do, they'll foul the system and damage the engine.
  • When mussels die in large numbers, they stink and the sharp shells of dead mussels also cut your feet as you walk along the beaches.