Mussel Update

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Spool of thick line encrusted by quagga mussels
Quagga mussels encrust and clog equipment and boats


Quagga mussels are an invasive species infesting multiple lakes in the Southwest. They are native to seas in Eastern Europe and were first discovered in the United States in the Great Lakes Region in the 1980s. Quaggas multiple rapidly, are easy to spread, and cause harm to the environment, equipment, and infrastructure as they encrust and clog boat engines, shorelines, and anywhere else conducive to their growth.

As of 2016, thousands of adult quagga mussels have been found in Lake Powell, attached to canyon walls, the Glen Canyon Dam, boats, and other underwater structures, especially in the southern portions of the lake. Adult mussel populations are expected to expand and increase as the season progresses and over the next few years.

Your Boater Responsibilities

It is crucial to keep the mussels from moving from Lake Powell to other lakes and rivers. Boaters can help by making sure your vessels and equipment are not contributing to the problem. Cooperate with prevention and containment efforts at Lake Powell and all your favorite waters to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species like mussels.

Launching at Lake Powell

Ensure your watercraft and equipment arrive clean, drained, and free of aquatic hitchhikers. Remember to put your plugs back in before launching.

Exiting Lake Powell

  1. Remove debris when you pull your anchor.
  2. Pull your plugs and leave them out.
  3. Prepare for watercraft inspection. Leave your compartments open and accessible.
  4. Stop at the inspection station at the top of the launch ramp.

Clean. Drain. Dry.

Follow the Clean. Drain. Dry. procedure for every body of water, every time.

  1. Clean

    Remove all mud, plants, and animals from watercraft, trailer, anchor, and equipment.
  2. Drain

    Pull all plugs and leave them out during transport. Drain water from watercraft and equipment (live wells, ballasts, and engines) before leaving the ramp.
  3. Dry

    Allow your watercraft to dry completely using pumps, towels, sponges, or air. Mandatory dry times vary based on state law.
Man walks past plane in hangar with view of Tower Butte


It's Not Just for Boaters

Anglers, kayakers, swimmers, even seaplane pilots need to Clean. Drain. Dry. their equipment. Get specific information for specific types of recreation from the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers webpage.

Those fishing in the Lees Ferry area will find wader cleaning stations at multiple locations, available to help clean, drain, dry boots and equipment on site. There are aquatic invasive species besides quagga mussels found at Lees Ferry.


State Laws

Utah and Arizona state laws require you to CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY your boat when leaving Lake Powell using self-decontamination procedures. Additional steps are required if you launch on other waters without a significant drying period or if you are on Lake Powell for more than 5 days.
Regulations vary depending on the state, so all boaters should review the regulations of any state they will enter with their watercraft after being at Lake Powell.

No matter where you are headed next, it is illegal to transport aquatic invasive species.

More Information About Quagga Mussels at Lake Powell

Ranger sprays personal watercraft at decontamination station


State law may require watercraft decontamination by National Park Service staff or other professional.

Mussel encrusted anchor lays on dock

Mussel FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on mussels at Glen Canyon

Researcher leans over side of boat to pull up equipment

Mussel Monitoring at Lake Powell

Glen Canyon maintains an active monitoring program to detect the presence and spread of aquatic invasive species in Lake Powell and the Colo

Cliff wall encrusted with mussels exposed below high water line

History of Mussels at Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon was at the forefront of the movement to detect and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species since the threat became known.

Ranger runs his hand over dry-docked boat hull completely covered in mussels

Quagga Mussel Containment Program

Glen Canyon's extended response strategy to minimize the spread of invasive mussels from Lake Powell and to manage park operations

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1507
Page , AZ 86040


928 608-6200
Receptionist available at Glen Canyon Headquarters from 7 am to 4 pm MST, Monday through Friday. The phone is not monitored when the building is closed.

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