News Release Archive

Juvenile Quagga Mussels Discovered at Deer Creek Reservoir

Media Contact: Wayne Pullan , 801-379-1100
Jordan Nielson, 801-850-1221

For Release: January 15, 2015

Heber City, Utah - Routine water quality sampling has led to the detection of juvenile quagga mussels at Deer Creek Reservoir, located in north-central Utah. Quagga mussels are an invasive species which can be destructive to native habitat and to water related infrastructure. In response to this discovery, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has issued an order requiring all boaters to decontaminate their boats before they leave the reservoir.

"This find does not mean Deer Creek Reservoir is infested with quagga mussels," said Jordan Nielson, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Fortunately the mussel populations found in the past at other waters in Utah never established themselves. We're hoping that will be the case at Deer Creek."

Although this discovery is concerning to the agencies, there is currently little risk of the population expanding. Quagga mussels typically do not reproduce in water that is colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The primary concern is mussels being transported to other bodies of water in or on boats, thus further spreading the invasive species to other areas. Even boats which may only be in a water body for a short period of time can carry quagga mussels, which is the primary means of infestation at other water bodies.

The order issued by the Division of Wildlife Resources, requires boats to be decontaminated before leaving Deer Creek State Park. To accomplish this, the order stipulates that boaters will either clean, drain and dry their boats for a specific length of time or have their boat professionally decontaminated (a free service) before leaving the State Park.

"Reclamation values its partnerships with the Division of Wildlife Resources, State of Utah, and other local water agencies in addressing this difficult invasive species problem," said Provo Area Office Manager, Wayne Pullan. "We will continue to work together to address this problem and reduce the risk."

Quagga mussels are a small freshwater bivalve mollusk that grow to around four centimeters in adulthood. They were introduced into the Great Lakes region of the U.S. roughly 30 years ago. Since that time they have steadily spread. Quagga mussels have the ability to rapidly colonize many surfaces within and on the waters they inhabit. This can lead to issues with clogged or encrusted water intake structures, pipes, and screens. The clogging or encrusting of these structures can lead to substantial increases in operation and maintenance costs. Their shells can litter shorelines and ruin sandy beaches. They compete directly with fish and other aquatic organisms for food.

Beginning this spring, Reclamation, Division of Wildlife Resources and Utah State Parks will take action to learn whether adult quagga mussels are in the reservoir, and whether they have spread downstream of Deer Creek Reservoir. The middle Provo River, between Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs, is less at risk because quagga mussels cannot move upstream on their own and would require on some other method to be transported upstream.

For more information on quagga mussels, and on boat decontamination, visit Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website at www.stdofthesea.com.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources