Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recent Tests find no Foreign Mussels in Electric Lake

PRICE, UTAH--Last year, larval non-native zebra mussels were found in Electric Lake. This caused great concern to all water users and recreationalists. Since the discovery, the Division of Wildlife Resources has conducted vigorous sampling at Electric Lake, seeking to establish whether or not the larval mussels identified a year ago had taken hold. So far, so good.

This year, not a single adult or larval mussel has been detected. That is welcome news to PacifiCorp Energy, irrigators, culinary water users and fishermen. “Zebra mussels and their close relative quagga mussels wreak havoc on water related infrastructure by clogging pipes. They also degrade water quality and compete with fish populations,” says Aquatic Invasive Species Biologist Daniel Keller. Eradication of these foreign mussels has proven to be enormously expensive and virtually impossible, wherever they have occurred.

Sampling will continue next year. It’s possible that adult mussels have not reached a detectable density. On the other hand, these foreign invaders may not have found Electric Lake to be suitable habitat. DWR officials hope that’s the case, and will continue to monitor the lake closely in cooperation with PacifiCorp Energy.

In mid-October, the Electric Lake sport fish population was also sampled. The outcome was encouraging. Plenty of cutthroat and newly introduced tiger trout were found in gill- nets. Trout ranged from 8-18 inches in size, indicating good survival and growth of stocked fish. Trout appeared healthy and well-fed. Primary prey items in Electric Lake include aquatic invertebrates and redside shiners. Justin Hart, DWR sportfish biologist, encourages anglers to take advantage of the excellent trout fishery that is continuing to improve.

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