Glen Canyon NRA/Lake Powell

Has anyone paddled Lake Powell recently? Curious how bad the quagga mussel infestation has become and whether any beaches are free of their shells?

Call the phone number on this web page:

and follow the advice on this one:

I have not paddled LP since spring of 2012, when inspections had just been instituted there. It was probably a case of too little too late. At that time, AIS presence was suspected but not confirmed. Only a few years later (2016), their presence was verified.

About the time that AIS were found at LP, we moved to our “forever home” area that is only a couple hrs drive from LP. We had dreams of taking regular camping trips there but had not heard that AIS were found. Well, now we won’t even do day paddles at LP.

Why? you ask?

The answer: If you paddle in an AIS body of water, the decon procedures that should be done after leaving it and BEFORE ENTERING ANOTHER body of water can be extensive. I saw one set of state requirements that called for mandatory dry time (NO boating with that vessel) of several weeks, the actual time depending on the season, unless you let authorized decon personnel do a very hot, very high-pressure powerwash, likely something that would damage kayaks and other paddlecraft.

To us, it isn’t worth the risk of either harming the boats or introducing AIS into our homie lakes. When I hear of people wanting to paddle in our local lakes “on the way back from” a LP trip, I cringe. There are enough paddlers who I think will pooh-pooh the precautions just because kayaks are considered lower risk than, say, jet skis and houseboats, that I wish they would keep driving straight to their own homes.

We don’t want no stinkin’ AIS, thanks. Almost all drinking and irrigation water in this area come from the reservoirs.

So if you paddle at Lake Powell, please do a thorough decon or don’t put your boat in other vulnerable waters afterward.

Sorry for the lecture, but know that in an arid, drought-ridden region that relies heavily on agriculture, contaminating the water supply is a major offense.

No offense taken, pikabike. In fact, just want I wanted to hear. I’m the EIC of, and we’re going to be doing a series of stories involving the Colorado River, and the situation at Lake Powell can’t be overlooked. Thanks for your insights.

Thanks for the response. Here’s something we noticed on a camping trip at LP, back in 2007. I later wished we had asked about it.

We stopped in one cove to check it out as a campsite. Upon walking around, I saw part of the beach covered with dead mussels of some kind. I had heard of zebra mussels and it didn’t look like them, but I wondered if they were some other kind of AIS. The smell was really bad.

Now I wonder how many other boaters saw such things and assumed the NPS already knew about them? Or even some recognized bad stuff and deliberately kept quiet because they did not want “the government” telling them they could no longer enter without inspections? Hmm.

I know in 2007 they were spotted in Lake Mead, and NPS folks say it’s from Lake Mead that the mussels spread to Lake Powell. Here’s some background from the Traveler;—-all-not-yet-lost23124

Those things have infested almost every lake in Arizona thanks to careless powerboats.
When I cross to Calif, the checkpoint quizzes me about the last time I was in the water and where so we had a pleasant discussion about the Quagga.
Although I do not always clean my boat after each trip, I DO dry the thing and let it rest between trips to kill off any seeds/eggs/whatever-you-call-the-young and I also try to change out my boats to give them a couple months dry-time between trips.
That said, I just came back from a 4-day trip off the Lower Colorado and will return in Feb so we will be really careful cleaning the boats AND GEAR before we take off.

Remember, my painter, paddle, leash and other gear have been in that water and soaked so may be contaminated too.

I always wash and dry ALL paddling gear after each outing, whether or not the lake is known to have AIS in it.

Adult mussels are not the threat with kayaks. The shells are very visible if you look in all the places they might be attached.

The problem is the veligers, the larvae that swim freely and are not attached yet. This is why draining and drying every compartment that might be damp is emphasized so much. The veligers are tiny and hard to see.

Without motors or bilges, kayaks present fewer opportunities for the veligers to stick around. BUT kayaks still have hatch compartments and cockpits that can be wet inside. It helps that kayaks do not stay on the water for prolonged periods (e.g., houseboats). That doesn’t mean there is zero risk of contamination.