SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is getting more serious about ridding Utah Waters of quagga mussels. They want Utahns to take a course before launching any watercraft into the water. They also want resident motorized boat owners to pay a $20 and take a mussel aware basic course before putting their boat anywhere in Utah waters.

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A DWR employee decontaminants a boat on before it is launched in one of Utah’s waterbodies.  

Anyone launching any kind of watercraft in Utah waters this year is required to take a Mussel Aware course. It doesn’t matter whether they are a resident or non-resident they are requiring people to take an annual mussel-aware boater course before launching the watercraft.

These rules also apply to individuals with paddle boards, kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft. 

The aquatic invasive species fee is separate from a boater registration fee, and each will have separate decals. 

The boater registration payment can be made through the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles, or the aquatic invasive species fee can also be paid online. The annual mussel-aware boater course must be completed before the aquatic invasive species program vessel enrollment fee can be paid, and then a current-year boat decal will be mailed to you. 

“The aquatic invasive species funds are used to help prevent quagga mussels from spreading from Lake Powell to other Utah waterbodies,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aquatic Invasive Species Lt. Bruce Johnson said. “These funds help pay for new dip tanks being installed around the state that more efficiently decontaminate boats and also pay for staff to help inspect and decontaminate boats in areas without dip tanks.” 

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With all of the boats coming and going in Utah the Division of Wildlife Resources is trying to get a handle on quagga mussels.

Lake Powell is currently the only Utah waterbody with confirmed quagga mussels. All watercraft leaving that lake are now required to have an exit inspection during the inspection station’s hours of operation.

After a watercraft is inspected, it must still be professionally decontaminated before that watercraft can launch at a different Utah waterbody. If or some reason a decontamination can’t be performed, the watercraft must follow the recommended cleaning and draining guidelines.

Utah’s required dry times after boating at Lake Powell are seven days in summer, 18 days in fall and spring, or 30 days in winter. However, wakeboard boats are defined as complex boats, which always require a 30-day dry time regardless of the time of year unless they are professionally decontaminated by a DWR at a certified aquatic decontamination station.

There are over 40 inspection stations located around Utah, with some located at boat launch Utah ramps and others along highways

When leaving any waterbody and when transporting watercraft, any drain plugs must be removed. Boaters should also remove any sea strainers while transporting their watercraft. 

“We are so appreciative of all the boaters who are committed to doing their part to prevent the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive species in Utah,” Johnson said. 

“We are so appreciative of all the boaters who are committed to doing their part to prevent the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive species in Utah.”

For more preventing the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive species on the STD of the Sea website.

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