Drought will delay mussel decontamination, limit access to ramps at Lake Powell this year
SALT LAKE CITY — Water managers expected the drought to get worse this year as the snowpack has disappointed again and reservoir levels remained at or set record low levels.
Lake Powell is one of those shrinking reservoirs and that has prompted the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to warn boaters that there will be limited access to boat ramps during the 2022 boating season.
It will create a domino effect that will delay watercraft decontamination at Lake Powell. DWR said in a news release that it’s critical for boaters to plan ahead.
“We ask that watercraft users continue to be patient as our staff work as fast as they can to meet the inspection and decontamination requirements at Lake Powell during the boating season,” DWR Aquatic Invasive Species Sgt. Micah Evans said. “Law enforcement officers and technicians for the DWR, NPS, and other agencies work long, hot, busy weekends inspecting and decontaminating watercraft across Utah. This intensive effort is focused on preventing invasive quagga mussels in Lake Powell from spreading to other Utah waterbodies.”
The quagga mussel can destroy fisheries, pollute shorelines and beaches. It can cause expensive damage to boats and equipment, according to the DWR website.
The website also has information on decontamination stations and inspection stations across Utah.
The release said, “During 2021, DWR conservation officers found that the majority of the violations related to aquatic invasive species laws were due to nonresident watercraft users failing to complete the mandatory education course and fee payment and for boaters failing to remove drain plugs while transporting their watercraft.”
UTAH REQUIREMENTS FOR WATERCRAFT
- All watercraft must stop at mandatory inspection stations for the required inspections.
- Watercraft includes kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and inflatable rafts.
- Drain all water, and keep all drain plugs removed when leaving any waterbody.
- Nonresidents are required to take the mandatory education course and pay a boater fee before launching a boat in the state of Utah.
- Clean, drain and dry your watercraft after launching at Lake Powell or at other water bodies infested with quagga mussels or other aquatic invasive species.
- Before launching in any Utah waterbody, all watercraft users must display a self-decontamination form.
There are more than 40 inspection stations located around Utah, with some located at boat launch ramps and others along highways. See a map of inspection and decontamination stations here.
Visit the STD of the Sea website for further information regarding boater requirements and for links to the mandatory education course and fee payment.
Visit the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area website for updates on boat ramp access and water levels.
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