In a bid to keep non-native and invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels out of Lake Powell, officials at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are beginning random inspections of boats heading to the reservoir.
Any boats found to be contaminated by the mussels will be quarantined until a certified biologist can ascertain that all of the mussels have been removed.
Boaters who have launched their craft in waters harboring either of the mussels already are expected to certify there are no mussels on their boats before they launch onto Lake Powell.
NRA officials say the decision to inspect boats was deemed necessary to prevent the mussels from becoming established in Lake Powell. Currently, Lake Powell and the upper Colorado River are believed to be free of Zebra and Quagga mussels. However, invasive mussels still pose a major threat to Lake Powell if they are introduced.
At present, rangers are reporting very good compliance with the self-certification and decontamination process; violators face a mandatory court appearance and $5,000 fine.
Glen Canyon NRA is currently coordinating efforts with a variety of partners to prevent zebra mussels in Lake Powell including Aramark/Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas, Antelope Point Holdings, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The park will be holding a Zebra Mussel Prevention Coordination meeting next week with a greatly expanded group of partners including representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the states of Arizona and Utah, the City of Page, Page-Lake Powell Tourism Bureau, Navajo Generating Station, Glen Canyon Natural History Association, Lake Powell Yacht Club, and Friends of Lake Powell.
The coordination meetings are designed to address short term logistical coordination efforts between partners and to develop more effective long term strategies for keeping mussels out of Lake Powell.