5,718 boats in Utah inspected for quagga mussels, 54 cited during Memorial Day weekend

Quagga mussels are shown on a boat propeller. Photo: Stateparks.utah.gov

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 26, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Aquatic Invasive Species technicians for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources inspected 5,718 boats and performed 142 decontaminations over the Memorial Day weekend.

Conservation officers cited 54 people who violated Utah’s laws to prevent the spread of invasive mussels, said a news release from Utah DWR. Last Memorial Day weekend, 6,570 inspections were performed statewide, and 171 boats were decontaminated.

Technicians inspected 1,319 boats at stations in the Lake Powell area from Friday to Monday, the news release said. During those inspections, mussels were discovered on 118 of the boats, requiring a hot-water decontamination. Forty-two people received citations, misdemeanor and rule violations, for either not stopping for inspections or for transporting their boats with the plugs still in.

“In order to keep our Utah waters mussel free, we need public support and compliance,” said DWR Aquatic Invasive Species Operations Sgt. Krystal Tucker.

“Individuals with any watercraft who are traveling past an open inspection station are required to stop so our technicians can conduct an inspection for quagga mussels. All motorists traveling by an administrative checkpoint have to stop to make sure they are complying with invasive species laws. Our goal is to stop the spread of invasive mussels in order to protect Utah’s waters, so they remain accessible to the public and continue to provide incredible recreational opportunities for everyone.”

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.

There are more than 40 inspecion stations located at various waterbodies and along highways throughout Utah. Visit the DWR website for a list of all the decontamination stations around the state.


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