at the National Park Service’s Glen Canyon National Recreation Area announced
late last week that it has developed a strategy to help reduce the spread of
invasive quagga mussels from Colorado River’s Lake Powell to other lakes and
rivers with an emphasis on inspections of boats leaving the reservoir.
that the quagga mussels are in Lake Powell, we need to focus our efforts on
containing them," said Glen Canyon NRA Superintendent Todd Brindle.
"We all put up a good fight for 14 years to keep Lake Powell mussel free,
but now we need to work just as hard to protect other lakes and rivers."
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area quagga mussel program has shifted from prevention
(trying to keep the mussels out) to containment (trying to keep the mussels
from spreading to other bodies of water), according to the National Park
Service. The Colorado River runs down through the recreation area from southern
Utah into northern Arizona. It includes Lake Powell, a reservoir backed up by
the Glen Canyon Dam.
news was pleasing, but not totally satisfying, for officials in the Pacific
Northwest who are working hard to fend off the epidemic spread of invasive
quagga and zebra mussels.
infestations have been reported in Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington
to-date, but the harmful mollusks are knocking at the door. Boat inspections
that began in late winter near Idaho’s southern border discovered in early
March a mussel-contaminated boat that was headed north from Lake Powell.
watercraft inspectors are looking for high-risk boats that have been in quagga-
and zebra-mussel impacted waters such as Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Havasu
and Lake Pleasant.
and quagga mussels are native to the Black and Caspian Seas and were introduced
to North America’s Great Lakes in ballast water from Russia in the late 1980s.
were first detected in the western United States in January 2007 in the Lake
Mead National Recreation Area. They have since spread throughout the Colorado
River system and are now found in several other western states. Fast-growing
populations of zebra/quagga mussels threaten local environments and
infrastructure such as dams and irrigation facilities.
a smart move on their part,” Idaho state Rep. Eric Anderson said of the newly
announced Glen Canyon strategy. But a greater urgency is needed, particularly
in Congress and within the Department of the Interior, to provide funds and
enforcement authority to prevent the spread of mussels, which the state
lawmaker says should be treated with the same vigilance accorded “mad cow
federal government needs to protect us… they need to be a partner in this,”
Anderson said. The infested areas nearest the Northwest are to considerable
degree on federal lands.
state lawmaker has taken up quagga invasion prevention as a personal crusade.
The Priest Lake resident says he’ll retire from the legislature this November
to devote more time to the cause.
need the time to really work this thing, lobby the congressional delegation,”
as well as the Department of Interior, Anderson said.
one of two Idaho representatives of the Northwest Power and Conservation
Council, has been centrally involved in Northwest efforts encouraging the
screening of boats headed north from Lake Powell, Lake Havasu and heavily
infested Lake Mead. The Council, with representatives from Idaho, Montana,
Oregon and Washington, is charged by federal law with assuring the Northwest
region with a reliable water supply and helping protect and enhance fish and
wildlife affected by the Columbia River basin’s hydro system. Invasive mussel
could threaten both of those missions.
need inspections and decontaminations before the boats leave and go somewhere
else,” Yost said of infested areas in the Southwest.
part of it is that they don’t have a lot of authority to do that,” he said of
the Park Service’s ability to require inspections for outgoing watercraft.
did say he was encouraged by the Glen Canyon NRA decision to “start shifting
their emphasis to inspection of outbound boats.
also said that the NPS is “doing a better job” at least of notifying other
states about potentially contaminated boats that might be heading north.
saying you’ve got to do a better job on this,” the Pacific States Marine
Fisheries Commission’s Stephen Phillips said of federal involvement. Phillips
is the PSMFC’s Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program manager. The PSMFC
is an interstate compact agency that helps resource agencies and the fishing
industry sustainably manage valuable Pacific Ocean resources in a five-state
region. Member states include California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and
PSMFC’s invasive species web page can be found at
a result the newly adopted strategy, Glen Canyon boat ramp hours will no longer
be restricted and green mussel free certificates no longer required. NPS staff
will focus on checking for evidence of attached mussels on boats entering and
leaving the lake. Rangers on the ramps, at the marinas, and along beaches will
educate visitors on how to stop the spread of mussels with “clean, drain, and
and Arizona have designated the entirety of Lake Powell as infested/affected by
invasive quagga mussels and their state laws require that boat owners
decontaminate their vessels and conveyances to avoid the transport of quagga
mussels to uninfested waters. Specific information on state laws for Utah can
be found at www.wildlife.utah.gov/mussels or for Arizona at www.azgfd.gov/ais.
National Park Service operates under proprietary jurisdiction at Glen Canyon
and has no jurisdictional authority to enforce state laws regarding containment
(exiting watercraft) of quagga mussels at Lake Powell, according to information
posted on the Glen Canyon NRA web site. State officers retain full authority to
enforce state laws within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area boundaries.
additional information, visit our website at
Canyon National Recreation Area does not have the infrastructure or the
resources to use the few existing NPS decontamination stations for the hundreds
of thousands of watercraft using Lake Powell, the NPS says. For this 2014
boating season, Glen Canyon will offer decontamination services for any
non-agency-controlled vessels (other than concessioner, contractor, permittee)
observed entering or exiting the park with confirmed visible (or detectable)
attached quagga mussels or other aquatic invasive species (AIS).
NPS will encourage the states or private businesses to develop permanent
decontamination stations outside the park to serve watercraft using Lake
Canyon will require agency controlled watercraft (concessioner, contractor,
permittee) to be inspected and if necessary decontaminated, in accordance with
Utah and Arizona state laws and will provide information about applicable state
rules. This requirement will apply to agency controlled watercraft upon exit
from Lake Powell for transport to other waters. This will be managed as a
concessioner, contractor, and permittee responsibility as law and policy allow.
All slipped and moored boats, the most likely vector of spread of adult
mussels, are covered by this provision.
Glen Canyon NRA is encouraging public cooperation regarding boat inspections,
but cannot require inspections within the NRA boundaries.
it comes to [boats] leaving, our authority gets pretty thin,” said Glen Canyon
NRA ecologist/biologist Mark Anderson.
Canyon National Recreation Area has received a targeted annual base operational
budget of $750,000 for quagga and zebra mussel containment, prevention, and
enforcement beginning FY14.
Canyon will utilize the new funds to hire and support 20-plus NPS aquatic
invasive species staff (primarily seasonal) to meet quagga mussel containment
goals through an extensive visitor education effort at park launch ramps,
marinas, and in local communities, as well as online and through public events.
The new funds will also be used to continue to monitor the distribution and
abundance of quagga mussels in Lake Powell and to support early detection of
other aquatic invasive species.
Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Utah have provided supplemental
funds to help support the NPS quagga mussel program, the NPS says.
a step ahead. It’s a much larger investment… more people,” Mark Anderson said.
our top priority at this point,” he said. “We think we’ve come up with a good