Zebra & Quagga Mussels at Lake Powell

Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels are a species that cause severe damage to the lakes they invade. The mussels attach to underwater surfaces such as boats, docks, cliff walls, etc. Colonies can contain hundreds of thousands of mussels that remove algae from the water, depriving other animals higher on the food chain and greatly harming the ecosystem.

As of 2014, thousands of adult quagga mussels were found in Lake Powell, attached to canyon walls, the Glen Canyon Dam, boats, and other underwater structures. 

It is crucial to keep the mussels from moving from Lake Powell to other lakes and rivers. Utah and Arizona state laws require you to clean, drain, and dry your boat when leaving Lake Powell using self-decontamination procedures. Additional steps are required if you launch on other waters without a significant drying period or if you are on Lake Powell for more than 5 days. Regulations vary depending on the state, so all boaters should review the regulations of any state they will enter with their watercraft after being at Lake Powell, including Utah and Arizona.

Continued mussel education and prevention activities will minimize the chances that mussels will colonize other areas of the lake. It may also prevent the introduction of other aquatic invasive species.

How you can help

Boaters can help by making sure your boats and equipment are not contributing to the problem. Cooperate with prevention and containment efforts at Lake Powell and all your favorite waters to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species like mussels. Use the following links to learn more about mussel prevention efforts at Glen Canyon and what you can do to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Even if you don’t see mussels attached to you boat, they could still be present. You can help stop the spread of invasive mussels by making sure your boat and boating equipment is cleaned, drained, and completely dry before moving to a new body of water. 

To learn more, visit the National Park Services site for frequently asked questions about mussels.