Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!
Zebra mussels are a particularly damaging aquatic nuisance species. They are dark and light stripped freshwater bivalve mollusks. Individual mussels grow to a size of about 1.5 inches. Zebra mussels cause severe economic and ecological damage. Zebra mussels are biofoulers, attaching to most hard surfaces including boats, docks, cables, and water intake structures. They form thick mats that may be up to 18 inches thick. These mats can contain hundreds of thousands of individual mussels. Ecologically, zebra mussels drastically alter the ecology of infested water bodies and may severalty impact sport fisheries. Zebra mussels are filter feeders and each animal filters approximately one liter of water per day, removing algae and small zooplankton from the water column. When this occurs, the algae and zooplankton are no longer available to support higher levels of the food chain. Often, the sport fishery is compromised.
Zebra mussels are inadvertently transported to new water bodies by recreationally boaters. They can be transport either as adult mussels that are attached to a vessel, or in any part of the vessel that may harbor small amounts of water that can contain larval mussels.
Currently, Lake Powell is believed to be free of quagga and zebra mussels. However, zebra and quagga mussels pose a major threat to Lake Powell if they were to become established. Experts fear that zebra mussels could spread quickly through the Colorado River watershed and potentially establish themselves in other river systems.
In response to the continued and growing threat of the introduction of quagga and zebra mussels at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, effective Nov 1, 2009, self-certification of watercraft will no longer be an option at Wahweap Main and Bullfrog launch ramps and screening for the invasive mussels by trained personnel will be mandatory for all vessels.
Boaters are encouraged to continue to help stop the spread of invasive mussels by making sure their vessels and boating equipment are cleaned, drained, and completely dry before moving to a new body of water, make sure that any boats being moved from infested waters to non-infested waters are properly decontaminated prior to launching. We ask for your assistance in this effort by calling (928) 608-6301 if you see anyone launching outside the designated hours listed above.
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