DWR press release
With boaters calling in to schedule a quagga mussel cleanup for their watercraft, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has released a new online dashboard to help the public gauge station occupancy. state inspection.
The DWR began conducting boat inspections in 2008 after quagga mussels were detected in Lake Mead. Quagga mussels were confirmed in Utah after being detected in Lake Powell in 2012. Since then, the prevention program has grown to include more than 40 inspection stations across the state, including on boat ramps and along highways.
DWR and Utah State Parks personnel have performed 181,958 inspections and 3,289 decontaminations so far this year, as of Aug. 18. Quagga mussels were found on eight boats. Lake Powell inspection stations were the busiest this year, performing 43,116 total inspections. Rounding out the three busiest are Deer Creek Reservoir and Sand Hollow Reservoir inspection stations.
“This dashboard is a great resource for the boating public to see which inspection stations are open and actively performing inspections and decontaminations for quagga mussels,” said Lt. Bruce Johnson of DWR Aquatic Invasive. Species. “The webpage also shows boaters which bodies of water receive the most boat traffic and which inspection stations are the busiest, so they know what to expect before taking a trip. This information is important, especially this year when we experienced staffing shortages at many of our stations. »
All watercraft leaving Lake Powell must undergo an exit inspection during the hours of operation of the inspection station. Inspections are not the same as decontaminations. Once a boat has been inspected, it must still be decontaminated before that boat can launch into a different body of water. If decontamination cannot be performed, the watercraft must wait the required drying time before returning to the water.
The required dry times in Utah after boating at Lake Powell are seven days in summer, 18 days in fall and spring, or 30 days in winter. However, wakeboard boats are defined as complex boats, which always require a drying time of 30 days, regardless of the time of year, unless decontaminated by a professional.
Sampling of water bodies for quagga and zebra mussels
While the inspection and decontamination program is an important part of preventing the spread of quagga and zebra mussels to other water bodies, DWR biologists also conduct periodic sampling in the water bodies of the Utah to detect the presence of several types of invasive species, including mussels, molluscs and aquatic plants. Sampling is also carried out at DWR fish hatcheries and other fish spawning grounds. This early detection program began in 2007 and samples are usually taken between April and November when the water temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Large, fine-mesh plankton nets are used to sample water for quagga and zebra mussels in a lake or reservoir. The nets capture the particles, which are then collected in bottles. Several samples are taken from various locations around the reservoir. The samples are then sent to the Bureau of Reclamation lab in Denver, Colorado for microscopic and DNA examination to identify the presence of quagga/zebra mussel eggs called “veligers”.
“The job of sampling aquatic invasive species can be challenging due to the large number of reservoirs we have to sample across the state,” said Richard Gibbs, DWR aquatic invasive species biologist. “Each biologist samples more than 50 water bodies with more than 11 million liters of water filtered during a sampling season.”
Since the start of the early detection program, sampling results have identified quagga or zebra mussel veligers in Red Fleet Reservoir and Electric Lake in 2008, and in Deer Creek Reservoir in 2014. water bodies were all later confirmed clear of quagga mussels after years of control and containment measures were implemented and after consecutive years of repeated testing and monitoring where the results were negative. Currently, Lake Powell is the only body of water in Utah with quagga mussels.
“It’s an ongoing battle that needs everyone’s cooperation and help,” Johnson said. “Please always clean, drain and dry, which includes removing drain plugs and sea strainers on your boat. And if you leave Lake Powell and are unable to obtain any required decontamination, you must wait the required drying time before going to another body of water.