Quagga mussels are small (1.5” long), highly reproductive (females produce 30,000 to 1.6 million eggs annually) freshwater mollusks that attach to hard surfaces and colonize, eventually forming a large cluster of shells that can, if not treated, cause significant damage.
The mussels are known to:
- Clog water treatment facilities, dams and pipelines
- Interrupt the aquatic food chain eliminating fish
- Destroy boat motors
- Limit recreational use of reservoirs
- Increase water rates to cover treatment costs
- Leave razor-sharp shells making it unsafe to walk on beaches
Quagga mussels are not currently found in any facilities owned and managed by the district. However, monthly inspections are performed to monitor conditions given the ease of contamination. Inspections include monthly dives using Halcyon High Intensity Discharge lighting, examination of artificial substrate samplers on sample lines positioned at key locations on reservoirs and veliger sampling. Significant resources have been invested in world-wide research to eliminate quagga mussels but a proven treatment has not yet been discovered. For that reason, it’s essential all visitors to lakes and reservoirs throughout Utah follow these basic tips to keep our waters clean and safe.
- Eliminate all water from motors, boat hulls, scuba tanks, kayaks, boots, waters, bait buckets, swimming floats, etc. before leaving a body of water
- When leaving a body of water, remove all visible mud, plants and fish from your boat so that you don’t transport a mussel into another body of water
- Clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water such as boats, trailers, equipment, clothing and even pets
- Never put plants, fish, bait or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that same body of water