Mussel Update

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.

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

Your Boater Responsibilities

It is illegal to transport invasive species regulated by federal or other jurisdictional laws into the U.S. and across state and international borders. 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/Colorado River

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

Due to fewer ramp options for this upcoming boating season, watercraft users must plan ahead if they want to receive a watercraft decontamination at Lake Powell. There may be crowding at the open ramps, and staff with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Arizona Game and Fish Department and National Park Service at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will work hard to inspect boats departing the area and provide decontaminations to those who request them.

Exiting Lake Powell/Colorado River


  • Inspect and clean motor or engine, including the gimbal area; trailer, including axles, bunkers, and rollers; anchors; dock lines; and equipment before leaving the water body.

  • Drain live-wells, bait containers, ballast and bilge tanks, and engine cooling systems.


  • Inspect and clean hull, trailer, intake grate, and steering nozzle, etc.

  • Clean hull, trailer, intake grate, and steering nozzle, etc before leaving the water access.

  • Run engine 5 -10 sec to blow out excess water and vegetation from internal drive before leaving the water body.

All Motorized Vessels:

  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.

NON-MOTORIZED WATERCRAFT - Canoes, rafts, kayaks, rowboats, paddleboats, inflatables, sculls, and other non-motorized recreational watercraft also require proper treatment.

  • Clean straps, gear, paddles, floats, ropes, anchors, dip nets, and trailer before leaving the water body.

  • Dry everything completely between each use and before storing.

  • Wear quick-dry footwear or bring a second pair of footwear with you when portaging between waterbodies.

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.

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.


Prevent Delays and Reduce Costs Associated with Transporting, Buying, and Selling Boats

In an effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Regional Panel, and others are making information on state laws and best management practices available to boat haulers, auctioneers, marinas, manufacturers, and brokers to make it easy to comply with state, provincial and federal laws, prevent costly delays in transporting or selling boats, and help reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Communication Prevents Delays

The western state and provincial AIS coordinators know the laws and regulations for their jurisdictions, and they’re available to assist you by informing you of their laws and providing you with any other tools and information you need to successfully transport a boat, or sell/auction a boat, particularly those coming from water bodies infested with aquatic invasive species. Contact any western state or provincial AIS coordinator via the website.

Commercial Boat Haulers – Call Before You Haul

Here’s what you can do to comply with state laws and help prevent the spread:
After you Clean Drain Dry - ALWAYS CONTACT the destination state or province to understand the laws and regulations that jurisdiction has for boats coming from other states. To minimize travel delays and ensure compliance with laws, an inspection of your watercraft will be scheduled in your destination state. An online map of regional watercraft inspection stations, and contact information for AIS coordinators in the western states and Canadian provinces is available at

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.

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

Dock on desert lake
Changing Lake Levels

Lake Powell water levels are changing. How will this affect my visit?

Last updated: March 3, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

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. If you are having an emergency, call 911 or hail National Park Service on Marine Band 16.

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