DWR issues 52 citations to boaters violating invasive species laws over Memorial Day weekend

SALT LAKE CITY — Officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources issued 52 citations and warnings to boaters over Memorial Day weekend for violations of Utah laws established to prevent the spread of invasive quagga mussels.

Statewide, Aquatic Invasive Species technicians with the DWR, Utah State Parks, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the National Park Service inspected 8,556 boats and performed 103 decontaminations from Friday to Monday. 2,135 of the boat inspections and 39 of the decontaminations took place at inspection stations in the Lake Powell area.

In 2022 5,055 inspections were performed statewide, 55 boats were decontaminated, and four citations were issued during Memorial Day weekend.

According to a press release from the DWR, a majority of the citations this year were issued to boaters and others with watercraft not stopping at an inspection station, failing to remove their drain plugs while transporting their boats, or failing to take the mandatory aquatics invasive species education course and not paying the associated aquatic invasive species fee.

“We are excited to have more boaters coming back to enjoy Utah’s waters this year,” said Bruce Johnson, DWR aquatic invasive species lt. “But we want to remind boaters to recreate responsibly, which includes knowing the rules and regulations for not inadvertently transporting aquatic invasive species around Utah. All watercraft leaving Lake Powell require an exit inspection during the inspection station’s hours of operation. ‘Watercraft’ includes kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and inflatable rafts.”

There are over 40 inspection stations located at various waterbody boat ramps, along highways and at port of entry stations throughout Utah. Visit the STD of the Sea website for a list of all the decontamination stations around the state and for additional information on boating requirements.

“It is important to remember that inspections are not the same as decontaminations,” Johnson said. “After a watercraft is inspected, it must still be decontaminated before relaunching at another waterbody. If a decontamination can’t be performed, the watercraft must wait the required dry time before launching again. Always be sure to clean, drain and dry your watercraft. It will save you a lot of time when you are on your way to boat our great waters in Utah.”

According to the DWR, quagga mussels are bad for the following reasons:

● They plug water lines, even lines that are large in diameter.

● If they get into water delivery systems in Utah, it will cost millions of dollars annually to

remove them and keep the pipes free, which can result in higher utility bills.

● They remove plankton from the water, which hurts fish species in Utah.

● Mussels get into your boat’s engine cooling system. Once they do, they’ll foul the

system and damage the engine.

● When mussels die in large numbers, they stink and the sharp shells of dead mussels also cut your feet as you walk along the beaches.

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