Update:June 24, 2009 Educational Video Added – Click to Watch
Yesterday the National Park Service at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area announced plans to ramp up the program to keep the Quagga, aka Zebra, mussels out of Lake Powell.
From KSL in Salt Lake City:
“The thumb-sized mussels can clog pipes and gum up waterworks and pose a threat to water systems across the West. They were accidentally introduced to the Great Lakes in the ballast of ships from eastern Europe and the Ukraine and were first discovered west of the Rockies in January 2007 in Lake Mead. ”
There has been a self inspection program in place since 1997 but many boaters have disregarded the proceedures. Now every boat launched will undergo an inspection by a NPS staff member which takes less than a minute. Boats identified as a high risk will move to a area set aside for a more thorough screening.
I was at Wahweap last Saturday and the screening area is at the top of the launch ramp behind the gas station. The station has two ramps, one on each side, of a large metal trailer. I watched one screening and it seemed to go fairly quickly. Locals refer to the screeners as the “Muscle Patrol” and the team consists of 14 staff members this season.
Screening hours at the main Lake Powell launch ramps will be 4:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and ramps will be closed before and after hours.
For more information on the Quagga Mussels see The National Park Service Website
These are very invasive, dangerous animals and can plaster themselves on a boat up to 18 inches thick. They ruin waterways as they filter all of the microscopic life out of the water damaging the entire eco-system in the process.