Auxiliary Joins Battle Against the Quagga Mussel

PHOENIX – Quagga Mussels, a type of invasive mussel commonly referred to as Zebra Mussels, have recently been discovered for the first time in the western United States. At this time, Lake Powell and the Upper Colorado River are believed to be free of invasive mussels.

The threat of mussels infesting Lake Powell has increased 100-fold with the discovery of Quagga Mussels in Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, and Lake Havasu. Lake Powell is farther upstream and so far, mussels have not been found there. State agencies in the West and the National Parks Service are joining forces to fight the further spread of mussels. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has joined that effort in California, Arizona and Nevada by helping to spread the word through its recreational boater education classes and dockside through its courtesy vessel safety checks.

“Our goal is to make the boating public aware of the threat of spreading mussels. If all are aware and take steps to clean their own boat and equipment then the seemingly impossible task of preventing further spread of Quagga Mussels may be realized,” Wayne Gustaveson, a Fisheries Biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife, said.

Lake Powell boaters, whose vessels have recently been in Zebra Mussel infested waters, including Lakes Mead, Havasu, and Mohave, are required to obtain a boat wash before launching their boats in Glen Canyon NRA. Specialized boat washes are available at Wahweap, Bullfrog, and Halls Crossing by ARAMARK and at Antelope Point by Antelope Point Holdings, LLC during normal business hours.

Boaters (including personal watercraft, canoe and kayak users), divers and anglers should do the following:

When taking boats and equipment out of the water at any lake:

    Drain water from the motor, live well, and bilge on land before leaving the immediate area of the lake.
    Completely inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
    Remove any vegetation and mud attached to the equipment.

Before driving out of the local community:

    Flush the motor and bilges with hot soapy water.
    Wash the hull, equipment, and any other exposed surface with hot soapy water.
    Clean and wash the trailer, vehicle, and any other equipment that has come in contact with lake water.

When you return home:

    Air-dry the boat and other equipment for at least five days before launching in any other waterway.
    Do not reuse bait once it has been in the water and allow all fishing tackle to air dry for at least 5 days before fishing in other lakes and streams.

More information about Zebra Mussels and other aquatic nuisance species, viisit the 100th Meridian Initiative. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also has a Quagga Mussel Resources/FAQ page.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, non-military component of TEAM COAST GUARD who assist the Coast Guard in all of its varied missions, except for military and direct law enforcement. For more information, visit the Coast Guard Auxiliary website.

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