Mussel Update

A sandy beach leads to still blue waters of Lake Powell. A large dock and may houseboats are in the bay. Behind them is a big sandstone cliff.

Wahweap Bay

NPS Photo, Emily Upchurch

A cluster of dead mussels is attached to a rock.

Quagga Mussels

NPS Photo

As of May 2014, thousands of adult quagga mussels have been found in Lake Powell, attached to canyon walls, the Glen Canyon Dam, boats, and other underwater structures. We expect to find additional adult mussels as the season progresses.

It is crucial to keep the mussels from moving from Lake Powell to other lakes and rivers. Utah and Arizona state laws require you to clean, drain, and dry your boat when leaving Lake Powell using self-decontamination procedures. Additional steps are required if you launch on other waters without a significant drying period or if you are on Lake Powell for more than 5 days. Regulations vary depending on the state, so all boaters should review the regulations of any state they will enter with their watercraft after being at Lake Powell, including Utahand Arizona.

Read the most up to date information on mussels at Glen Canyon here.

The following businesses have been certified through Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Training set forth by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and US Fish and Wildlife Service through the 100th Meridian Initiative. They can provide vessel decontamination services for a fee. These are independent business and are not associated with the National Park Service.
Bulldog Boat Repair


Mussel larvae, or veligers, were first confirmed in Lake Powell in late 2012 after routine water monitoring tests discovered mussel DNA in water samples taken from the vicinity of Antelope Point and the Glen Canyon Dam. Adult mussels were first reported in March 2013 when a local marine services business discovered 4 adult mussels on a boat that had been pulled for service. Adult mussels continue to be found on moored boats and marina structures at Wahweap and Antelope Point Marinas. Adult mussels have also been found attached to submerged canyon walls in and around Wahweap Bay and on a fixed wheel gate on the Glen Canyon Dam. The majority of mussels found are isolated adults, with additional groupings of small clusters. Two adult mussels have been found on the south canyon wall of Bullfrog Bay. Recent water sampling results have detected additional veligers in the southern portion of the lake, which indicates mussel reproduction.

Continued mussel education and prevention activities will minimize the chances that mussels will colonize other areas of the lake. It may also prevent the introduction of other aquatic invasive species.

Boaters can help by making sure your vessels and equipment are not contributing to the problem. Cooperate with prevention and containment efforts at Lake Powell and all your favorite waters to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species like mussels. Use the following links to learn more about mussel prevention efforts at Glen Canyon and what you can do to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Paved road with large signs. The road leads to the water. It is a launch ramp.

Launching Your Boat at Lake Powell

You are welcome to launch your boat on Lake Powell at any time, as long as lake level permits. There is no inspection certificate needed to launch.

Circular object filled with mussels. It is unrecognizable as anything but a clump of mussels.

Quagga Mussel Containment Program

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is developing an extended response strategy to minimize the spread of invasive mussels from Lake Powell and to manage park operations now that quagga mussels are present. Read the overview of that program here.

Three mussel shells attached to each other.

Quagga-Zebra Mussel Management Plan (QZMP)

The QZMP is needed to help the NPS decide what tools are appropriate to support the ongoing management of invasive mussels in Glen Canyon now that quagga mussels are present in Lake Powell. See the draft plan and submit your comments here.

Slimy pvc pipe with a rope attached. The rope is slimy too.

Mussel Monitoring at Lake Powell

Glen Canyon maintains an active monitoring program to detect the presence and spread of aquatic invasive species in Lake Powell and the Colorado River. See the work they do here.

Stiking sandstone cliff rises out of the lake. Its reflection is just as big.

History of Mussel Prevention at Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon has been at the forefront of the movement to detect and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species since the threat became known. View a timeline of prevention efforts and our response to the detection of invasive mussels in Lake Powell.

Helicopter with water landers sits on top of the lake.

Seaplanes and Mussels

Seaplanes can transport aquatic hitchhiker species between bodies of water just as easily as boats. Check the regulations for landing your seaplane on Lake Powell here.

Did You Know?