Invasive Quagga mussels discovered at Lake Powell for first time

April 22, 2013

Arizona Game and Fish officials said 15 Quagga mussels have been found by scuba divers at Lake Powell’s popular Wahweap boat marina.  The invasive species look similar to a clam. They multiply very quickly and clog waterways, plus they eat all of the food that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.   

Tom McMahon is with the Arizona Game and Fish Invasive Species program. He said the Quagga Mussels haven’t colonized Lake Powell yet, but he is concerned they could spread downstream from the lake into the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.

“Do we want them into one of our National Parks like that? Goodness gracious, what would it really do at the Grand Canyon?" McMahon said. "I’m sure it wouldn’t clog it up so that we wouldn’t have water flowing, but what would it do to the ecosystem there? Actually we don’t even really know.” 

Under state law people must drain and inspect their boats for mussels before the watercraft go into another lake. Violators can be fined $500. 

Quagga Mussels have also been found in Lake Mead, Mohave and Lake Pleasant as well as in the Central Arizona Project canals.

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