A Nevada man paid $2,500 for mussels at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, but they weren't served up at some ritzy restaurant. No, the boater was fined $2,500 for failing to have his craft inspected for quagga and zebra mussels before launching on Lake Powell.
The fine handed down by a federal judge in mid-October marked the first trial involving the NRA's mussel inspection regulations, which exist to try to prevent the arrival of the small invasive mussels into the reservoir.
According to a park release, back on October 19 U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert T. Braithwaite found Jonny Ward guilty of violating regulations that require mandatory inspections for “at risk” boats entering Lake Powell. Mr. Ward visited Glen Canyon on August 17, 2009, and was informed by park staff that he was required to have his boat inspected for zebra and quagga mussels before launching onto the lake, the release said. Nevertheless, the man instead proceeded to Lone Rock Beach, where he launched in violation of Glen Canyon regulations, the park added.
National Park Service rangers contacted Ward on Lone Rock Beach and issued him a mandatory citation to appear in court for violating mussel prevention regulations. Mr. Ward elected to go to trial, according to the park, and was found guilty of violating Glen Canyon’s quagga mussel regulations by Judge Braithwaite.
“We appreciate Judge Braithwaite’s support for our mussel prevention efforts at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area,” said Glen Canyon Superintendent Stan Austin. “Our success in keeping Lake Powell mussel-free will only continue with the cooperation and support of all of our partners and visitors.”
Zebra and quagga mussels are aquatic invasive species that can lead to severe economic and environmental consequences for lakes and other waterways, according to the NRA. A number of water bodies in the region are known to be infested with quagga mussels, it added Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has had an active mussel prevention program in place since 2000 for Lake Powell. All evidence to date indicates Lake Powell is zebra and quagga mussel free.