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SALT LAKE CITY — Another 60 boaters were cited by Utah wildlife conservation officers for violating state quagga mussel regulations, upping the statewide total to 169 citations over the past three holiday weekends.
In all, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ Aquatic Invasive Species technicians inspected 15,709 watercraft and conducted 367 hot-water decontaminations during the Pioneer Day weekend, which lasted from Friday through Sunday. The majority of the citations were issued to boaters who didn’t stop for mandatory inspections at one of the state’s inspection stations.
Eleven of the 60 citations and 148 of the decontaminations were at Lake Powell alone, which is where quagga mussels are currently located in Utah. Earlier this year, state legislators passed a resolution that urged federal authorities to work to limit the spread of quagga mussels because of the situation at Lake Powell.
State conservation officials have ordered that boaters must have their vessels inspected for quagga mussels, especially when leaving Lake Powell. That’s because the invasive species spreads by attaching to a vessel, and an improperly-cleaned vessel with quagga mussels on it can then introduce the species to other water bodies in the state.
The species is invasive because it can alter food webs in bodies of water by removing plankton; quagga mussels also clog water-intake pipes and other water infrastructure, which can cause extensive damage.
In addition to the 169 total citations, technicians inspected 37,925 vessels and performed 831 decontaminations over the Memorial Day, July 4 and Pioneer Day weekends combined. The 60 citations and 367 decontaminations between Friday and Sunday were the most conducted of the three holidays.