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Quagga mussels found in Red Fleet Reservoir

The propeller on this boat motor at Lake Mead is covered with quagga mussels.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources continues to receive test results on other Utah waters, but has received word that mussels have been found in Red Fleet Reservoir just north of Vernal.

Laboratories in Colorado are still testing water samples taken from 38 lakes and reservoirs in Utah in 2008.

The lab workers are searching for destructive organisms called quagga and zebra mussels.

Their testing is almost done. And so far, the results the Division of Wildlife Resources has received are encouraging — most of the waters tested do not appear to have mussels in them.

However two waters have been identified as having mussels.

Besides Red Fleet the other is Electric Lake, in Emery County. Red Fleet was just added to the list.

"So far, all of the mussels found have been very small juveniles," says Walt Donaldson, Aquatic Section chief for the DWR. "That's a sign that the mussels may not be well established in these two waters yet."

Invasive quagga and zebra mussels are a major threat to our quality of life. They are small, clam-like creatures that reproduce rapidly and deplete nutrients in the water. As such, they jeopardize power and water infrastructures, damage ecosystems and destroy recreation.

In 2008, the Utah State Legislature made it illegal to possess or transport invasive mussels. If you have been in an infested water, you must now decontaminate your boat and equipment before entering or traveling in Utah.

Decontamination is the only way to stop the spread of these horrible mussels. It does not harm your boat. It can actually prevent damage on your boat by removing mussels that would clog pumps and hoses.

There are two ways to decontaminate your boat after pulling it out of the water.

•Clean mud, plants, animals or other debris from your boat and equipment.

•Drain the ballast tanks, bilge, livewells and motor.

•Dry (7 days summer, 18 days spring/fall and 30 days in the winter) or freeze (3 days).

Professional decontamination is an alternative method available at many Utah waters. Certified personnel will wash your trailer and boat inside and out, flushing your ballast tanks, bilge, livewells and motor with high-pressure, scalding (140° F) water. This method is effective and does not harm your boat.

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