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Health, Science & Environment

DWR Finds Evidence of Quagga Mussels at Deer Creek Reservoir

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Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
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Quagga mussel veliger from Deer Creek Reservoir. This is how a veliger looks under a microscope.

Biologists at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have confirmed the existence of quagga mussels at Deer Creek Reservoir.

DNA tests preformed on water samples from Deer Creek Reservoir have discovered microscopic juvenile quagga mussels, known as veligers. The mussels were likely transported to the reservoir by an improperly cleaned boat.

Jordan Nielson is the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the DWR. He says just because they’ve found veligers, doesn’t mean an infestation of adult mussels is inevitable.

“When we find veligers we don’t know where they came from and because of the way we sample and preserve our samples, we don’t know if they were alive when we caught them or not,” Nielson says.

Starting immediately, boaters visiting Deer Creek Reservoir will be required to decontaminate their boats before leaving.

“If they keep doing that, then we have very little risk of them spreading from a place like Deer Creek,” he says.

In an effort to help boaters comply with this requirement, the DWR is offering free professional decontamination services.

If a quagga mussel population does begin to establish itself at Deer Creek, they could clog the systems that help bring drinking water to large portions of both Salt Lake and Utah counties. 

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