Don’t Move A Mussel – Now A Law In Arizona

Dont Move a MusselClean waters, including Lake Powell now have more protection from Quagga Mussels.  The highlights from a recent notification by The Arizona Game and Fish Department, is reproduced here.

Our boaters have done a good job so far of voluntarily practicing ‘clean, drain and dry’ as a part of responsible boating. Now Arizona has regulations in    effect requiring boaters to follow those practices at lakes known to have quagga mussels,” said Tom McMahon, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s invasive species coordinator.

Quagga mussels were first discovered in Arizona waters in Lake Mead during January of 2007. A single adult quagga mussel can produce a half-million larvae in a single year. Since being introduced at Mead, likely from being accidentally transported on a boat put into the lake, these prolific invaders have spread rapidly.

Waters in Arizona officially designated as having aquatic invasive quagga/zebra mussels include: Lake Pleasant, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu and Lower Colorado River below Havasu to the international boundary with Mexico. New regulations in March, called “Directors Orders” are now in effect and were authorized by the Aquatic Invasive Species Interdiction Act, passed last July by the Arizona Legislature. Boaters that don’t follow the procedures outlined in the newly-created regulations can be cited by law enforcement officers. To view the Director’s Orders, visit the Game and Fish Department’s Web site at

These new regulations require day-use boaters to follow four simple steps. Before leaving the vicinity of a water officially listed as having quagga and/or zebra mussels:

  1. Remove any clinging material such as plants, animals and mud from anchor, boat, motor and trailer (CLEAN). Mussel Incrusted Outdrive
  2. Remove the plug (if applicable) and drain the water from the bilge, live-well, and any other compartments that could hold water.  Drain water from the engine and engine cooling systems (DRAIN).
  3. Ensure watercraft, vehicle, equipment, or conveyance are allowed to dry completely (Dry).
  4. Before launching your watercraft someplace else, wait at least five days – this waiting period is essential to kill residual larvae not eradicated by the above three steps. If you use the boat again in less than five days from the previous use, replace the bilge drain plug, and disinfect the bilge by pouring in not less than one gallon of vinegar; the vinegar can be drained from the bilge upon arrival at home (vinegar can be reused several times).
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