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Zebra mussels found in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Trouble-making zebra mussels have arrived in Utah.

Electric Lake is Utah’s first body of water where the damaging, nonnative mussels have been confirmed, state wildlife officials said Wednesday.

The officials said they were surprised the fast-spreading mussels showed up there first because it’s a high-elevation lake with relatively few boaters. Sometimes boaters unknowingly transport the mussels from lake to lake on their crafts.

Most expected the mussels to show up first at Lake Powell.

Zebra mussels and their cousins quagga mussels were inadvertently introduced into the Great Lakes about 20 years ago. They reproduce and spread rapidly, threatening food sources for fish and clogging machinery and water pipes.

In Nevada, quagga mussels arrived at Lake Mead sometime before January 2007. Biologists believe they traveled in bilge water or on the equipment of a boat from the Midwest that was launched in the lake. From there, they spread rapidly throughout the lake and downstream to lakes Mohave and Havasu.

The mussels are difficult to remove from boats and, once established in a lake or reservoir, are nearly impossible to eradicate.

The Review-Journal contributed to this report.

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