DWR: Boaters should plan for inspections when leaving Lake Powell this holiday weekend

Lake Powell. Photo: Wikipedia

LAKE POWELL, Utah, June 30, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is warning boaters that starting this coming week, it will be boosting its inspection and decontamination capacity along the routes leaving Lake Powell.

Additionally, law enforcement is increasing its efforts to identify violators and cite them when necessary, said a news release from the Utah DWR. All boats leaving Lake Powell must be inspected, officials said.

“The quagga situation at Lake Powell has worsened this season,” the news release said. “Rising lake levels have caused previously exposed mussels to dislodge and float in the water. This change means significantly more boats are leaving Lake Powell with mussels and shells onboard their vessels, sucked into sea strainers, on anchors and in compartments compared to last year. As a result, it’s critical all boats leaving the lake be inspected.”

DWR technicians and law enforcement are asking the public to be patient during the inspection process, especially during busy holidays such as July Fourth and weekends.

New resources
DWR is redirecting resources to Lake Powell and other areas nearby by increasing staffing to help with inspections and hot water spray-downs to remove mussels, the news release said.

The spray-down minimizes biological risk by removing mussels and shells and allows for legal transportation of boats away from the lake, but is not a substitute for decontaminations. All decontamination and dry time requirements still apply.

“Beginning this weekend, a decontamination station will be available at a new mandatory inspection station in Kanab,” the news release said. “Staffing capacity to handle more decontaminations is also being increased at State Parks along the I-15 corridor, including Sand Hollow, Yuba and Utah Lake. Boaters can also expect a new mandatory inspection station to open in Hanksville in the coming weeks.

DWR has made resources available to boost personnel at high priority reservoirs that Lake Powell boaters most frequently visit, including Willard Bay, Sand Hollow, Deer Creek and Jordanelle.

What boaters should expect
Boaters should expect long lines during the holiday, the news release said. Every boat needs to be inspected thoroughly. DWR technicians are regularly finding quagga mussels on and in boats, regardless of how long they have been on the water.

The priority of the DWR and its technicians is to inspect and remove mussels. Inspections are taking longer with an increased number of boats coming off of Lake Powell with attached quagga mussels.

Boaters can help speed up the process, officials said. While waiting, check boats for mussels or shells prior to arrival at the inspection station and remove anything suspect, including those in the sea strainer. Also, pull all drain plugs and pump out ballast tanks prior to inspection.

Limited decontamination options are available at Lake Powell, officials said. DWR will offer them at other locations enroute out of Powell at no-cost to boaters. Those locations include Offshore Marina outside Bullfrog, the Kanab mandatory inspection station, Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane, Yuba State Park and Utah Lake State Park.

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