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If you're looking around for a few of the sections we had before, I'm sorry to say that some of them are just plain gone. I decided it was time to narrow the focus of the site a bit to make sure we can really do a good job of covering the things we kept around. We were getting a little thin before, trying to offer something for everyone. We've got a new sitemap here though, so you can see all the sections.
You might not have heard of these pesky little critters, but the Zebra Mussel or Quagga Mussel is certainly on the minds of those whose job it is to keep our lakes and reservoirs under control. This mussel is an invasive mussel that isn't a native to the waters of the Western United States. In January of 2007, these mussels were discovered in Lake Mead for the first time, and since that time, they've made their was into other waters in California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.
These little guys are like a small clam, they grow in clumps, attaching themselves to hard things like the transom of your boat or the intake of a dam. Without natural predators, they can grow into huge numbers, restricting the flow of water through inlets, and generally causing all kinds of trouble for water managers.
In order to try to keep this problem under control the folks who run our state parks and recreation areas are taking steps to get you involved. In some places, there may just be a ranger at the ramp as you try to unload your boat, performing an inspection before you're allowed to unload. Other places such as Lake Powell have implemented a program where everyone who wants to put their boat in the water there MUST display a certificate that shows the boat is Mussel free. You can read the text of the latest news release from the National Park Service about the Lake Powell program for yourself if you want to know the fine points. You can also Self-Certify your boat before you leave home.
Just in case you're inclined to blow off the requirements and launch into Lake Powell without the certificate, just be aware that the maximum penalty for violating this program could be as much as 6 months in Jail and a $5,000 fine! It's not difficult to make sure you're not carrying these little guys around with you, and as boaters, we all need to take some responsibility to make sure we're protecting our favorite waters!
Here's a picture of a Zebra Mussel. They don't look like much of a menace, but take this one little guy and multiply him by thousands or hundreds of thousands and you can see how they can create problems.