Earlier today, Gregory Sheehan, Director of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, signed an order today to prevent and control the spread of aquatic invasive species within the State of Utah. You may have heard about dreissinid mussels that were discovered in 1988 in the Great Lakes where they were brought over from Eastern Europe and Western Russia in ballast water of freighters. The two dreissinid mussels that have been identified in the U.S. are commonly known as zebra and quagga mussels. These mussels can spread at a very alarming rate—female zebra mussels can produce 100,000-500,000 eggs per year.
As you can imagine, many problems can result if these are not eliminated or controlled effectively. Simple aesthetic nuisances can result with beaches being lined with the mussels. Because they are sharp, cuts and scrapes can happen very easily. And since these mussels attach to objects, they are very debilitating to the shipping industry, water intakes, water conveyance systems, hydropower generation facilities, recreational water craft, etc. According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, “zebra mussels cost the power industry [in the United States]$3.1 billion from 1993–1999, with an impact on industries, businesses, and communities of more than $5 billion. If mussels become established in Utah, they are predicted to cost the state $15 million per year in increased costs—potentially driving up tax rates.” These mussels also filter the water and can actually increase water clarity, causing vegetation to grow at deeper depths and reduce food sources for larval fish, which could have a negative impact on fisheries. Therefore, decontamination requirements are now required at Deer Creek Reservoir. Decontamination can be completed in one of two ways:
1. Professional decontamination by using a professional decontamination service approved by the division to apply scalding water (140 degrees Fahrenheit) to completely wash the equipment or conveyance and flush any areas where water is held, including ballast tanks, bilges, live wells, and motors; or
2. Clean, Drain, Dry Method by: a) removing all plants, fish, mussels and mud from the conveyance or equipment; b) draining all water from the equipment or conveyance, including water held in ballast tanks, bilges, live wells, and motors; and c) drying the equipment or conveyance for no less than 7 days in June, July and August; 18 days in September, October, November, March, April and May; 30 days in December, January and February; or expose the equipment or conveyance to sub-freezing temperatures for 72 consecutive hours.
This is a serious matter and will require a vigilant effort by all users of Deer Creek Reservoir and other water bodies of the State of Utah. You will hear more about this through the media and as you recreate at water bodies. Other information can be found at these web sites: