Boaters Warned of Spreading Quagga Mussels from Lake Powell
HURRICANE, Utah – You’ve probably heard the saying “a bad day at the lake is always better than a good day at work.”
For some boaters, though, getting on the water has become almost like a job itself.
“I didn’t know it was a huge issue, but I’m assuming it’s probably bad,” said Cade Hendrickson.
Hendrickson lives in St. George and was excited about getting his waverunners out at Sand Hollow State Park for the July 4th weekend.
However, since he told park workers his boats have been at Lake Powell recently, they had to be checked and decontaminated for quagga mussels.
“There’s no sense in lying, especially with the possible contamination of the water,” he said.
Quagga mussels attach themselves to boats and spread from one body of water to another.
They cause problems for any infrastructure by clogging machinery and damaging the ecosystem for fish and waterways.
Lake Powell is full of them, even more so with all the recent water.
“With the changing water levels, they’re having a lot of dead mussels floating around. So, the boats are getting these dead mussels different than in years past,” said Johnathan Hunt, who is the manager at Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane.
To try and keep the quagga mussels from spreading, any boats that have been in Lake Powell have to be decontaminated before going to another body of water.
There are limited decontamination stations available at Lake Powell, so more stations have been opened in Utah to handle the July 4th weekend crowd.
A new inspection station was opened in Kanab.
There are also stations with additional staffing at State Parks along the I-15 corridor, including Utah Lake, Yuba Lake, and Sand Hollow.
“We’re ramping up our boat washing, probably two or threefold as to what we had last year,” said Hunt.
Hunt admits it can be annoying to wait in line to have your boat cleaned, when all you really want to do is get out on the water.
However, park managers say a little bit of patience now will potentially keep the problem from spreading elsewhere.
“It’s not an easy process,” said Hunt. “It’s going to take some time and some cooperation, but I think as a combined effort, you bet. We can mitigate this problem and cross our fingers, we’ll keep it out of the other lakes.”
Which, ultimately, makes the other lakes better for all of us.
“It’s not really a big deal,” said Hendrickson.
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