Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vexing mussels: Officials concede defeat at Lake Powell, seek to contain invasive species

For 14 years, officials at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area focused on keeping Quagga mussels out of Lake Powell. It was an undertaking, as National Park Service rangers tried to police about 2 million annual visitors and an estimated 400,000 boat launches at eight developed boat access points, and at least a half-dozen other access points along 2,000 miles of shoreline, said Todd Brindle, recreation area superintendent. Last year, rangers learned they lost the battle against the invasive species in the vast lake. "We did all we could," Brindle said. On Monday, Brindle announced at a meeting of local, state and federal representatives from various agencies at the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation office in Provo that the National Park Service is shifting its efforts from prevention to containment. The emphasis now will be on educating boaters and screening boats not as they enter the lake, as was done before, but as they exit. "There's no way to remove mussels from Lake Powell; no way to reverse that," he said. "We're going to face the lake and try to focus on boats coming out of the lake."...more

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