Zebra-Quagga Mussels

Zebra & Quagga Mussels

Save our waters, protect our ecosystem.

Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels are a non-native nuisance species that cause severe economic and ecological damage to Lake Powell. The hard-shelled mussels attach to surfaces like boats, docks, cables, and water intake structures. Their 18-inch thick mats can contain hundreds of thousands of mussels that remove algae and small zooplankton from the water, depriving other animals higher on the food chain.

As of May 2014, thousands of adult quagga mussels have been found in Lake Powell, attached to canyon walls, the Glen Canyon Dam, boats, and other underwater structures. We expect to find additional adult mussels as the season progresses.

It is crucial to keep the mussels from moving from Lake Powell to other lakes and rivers. 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, including Utah and Arizona.

Mussel larvae, or veligers, were first confirmed in Lake Powell in late 2012 after routine water monitoring tests discovered mussel DNA in water samples taken from the vicinity of Antelope Point and the Glen Canyon Dam. Adult mussels were first reported in March 2013 when a local marine services business discovered 4 adult mussels on a boat that had been pulled for service. Adult mussels continue to be found on moored boats and marina structures at Wahweap and Antelope Point Marinas. Adult mussels have also been found attached to submerged canyon walls in and around Wahweap Bay and on a fixed wheel gate on the Glen Canyon Dam. The majority of mussels found are isolated adults, with additional groupings of small clusters. Two adult mussels have been found on the south canyon wall of Bullfrog Bay. Recent water sampling results have detected additional veligers in the southern portion of the lake, which indicates mussel reproduction.

Continued mussel education and prevention activities will minimize the chances that mussels will colonize other areas of the lake. It may also prevent the introduction of other aquatic invasive species.


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. Use the following links to learn more about mussel prevention efforts at Glen Canyon and what you can do to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Even if you don’t see mussels attached to you boat, they could still be present. You can help stop the spread of invasive mussels by making sure your boat and boating equipment is cleaned, drained, and completely dry before moving to a new body of water. Here at Lake Powell Marinas, we make sure any boat being moved from infested waters to non-infested waters are properly decontaminated prior to launching. Therefore, we ask for your assistance in this effort.

To learn more, visit the National Park Services site for frequently asked questions about mussels.


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