100k for Mussel solution

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The solution for Powell was to actually enforce the mandatory inspection and decontamination before the lake got infected. But that ship has sailed.......
We are studying food habits of bluegill and green sunfish (BYU is currently conducting a stable isotope study) that now reside in LP and find they are eating mussels. Hopefully they will grow bigger here because of the dreadful mussels. We should know more about that at the end of 2018 and will report more. We know about redear sunfish and are assessing what is best for the future of the lake.
I have read that the mussels came from the Baltic Sea area. What do they do there? Just live with them or do they have some way of dealing with them?
Here’s my solution (and this is 1/2 serious):

Since mussels can’t propagate upstream and there are currently no mussels upstream of Lake Powell, open all the gates at Glen Canyon Dam and drain the entire contents into Lake Mead - which at current water levels, it could hold. This will make all the mussels die. Once it is drained shut the head gates at Flaming Gorge Dam and other similar dams in Colorado to really make it dry at Lake Powell, only releasing just enough water to serve the needs of the communities downstream to Hite, until just before the water at those dams goes over the top. Make sure no water runs into Lake Powell for the necessary time period to guarantee the death of the little buggers.

The river runner crowd should really like this - they’ll get a huge flood above 100,000 cfs in the Grand Canyon - fun for them and a rebuilding of their precious sandbars that they haven’t seen in their life time.

All the endangered species in the rivers could be replanted from hatcheries. All other aquatic life could likewise be planted in the Lake and adjusted as desired - like starting with a clean slate - can you say "goodbye carp" (at least for awhile).

What to do about the dead pool that wouldn’t drain? Not sure. Could it be pumped out? Is there really no tunnel to get rid of it? Las Vegas is now pumping from the bottom of Lake Mead (which they haven’t always done - so it can be done).

Once Lake Powell is dry and all the mussels are confirmed dead shut the headgates tight and refill Lake Powell. Everything below Lake Mead can consume it’s normal amount of water out of the now filled Lake Mead for about 4 years while this is going on.


After the massive flooding of Grand Canyon which may go on for several months it drys up too.

No Lake Powell for 3 years or so?


Think what the TrashTrackers could get done in those 3 years! :)

Let the scientists go bat-crap crazy for 3 years studying submerged dinosaur tracks, Anasazi ruins, sediment patterns, yada, yada, yada. Big win for them!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Think how much you'll look forward to returning to Lake Powell in that 4th year with clean, mussel free, beautiful green water surrounded by gorgeous red rocks.

With slight variations of this process all downstream dams could be cleaned out in successive order relying on the fact (or hope) that the mussels indeed can not swim up stream.

When the entire system is clean use 10% of the money that is being spent now annually to make sure proper protocols are implemented and maintained that should have been done from the beginning to prevent infection. That would be an annual budget of $50 million (according to the article).

Take the remainder $450M for proper restoration of the fisheries, habitat, hiring whoever wants a job in Page/Bullfrog to oversee and manage the cleanup of Lake Powell for those 3 years, haul water to every locale that can't get by without Lake Powell water (Page, Bullfrog, Lee's Ferry and maybe one or two more places), further lower the Castle Rock Cut, conduct critical ramp repairs around the Lake, heck with a budget of $450M guarantee the affected business owners in Page and Bullfrog what their average profits would have been for those 3 years while they play in Cancun, haul all the sediment out of Hite and truck it to Lees Ferry, etc. In fact, knock yourself out on this one, take 2 years annual savings for your budget for these projects and spend around $1B. Only 2 years of savings!!

There is a limited window of opportunity to make this happen. One of 2 things could happen that would make this exponentially more difficult. First, we could get a winter like the Sierras got last year (think Oroville). Right now all of Lake Powell would fit in Lake Mead - that may not always be the case. Second, there are no established mussel infestations above Lake Powell. We all know how fast can change.3

I will only take a paltry 1% if the annual savings for my fee and only until I die - maybe another 30 years or so. A “mere” $5M per year :)
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Well... that is certainly an interesting approach. You should have hung on to that one until April 1.

The half I wasn't serious about was where the Bureau of Reclamation pays me $5 M per year. Everything else is spot on.

I've decided to cut my fee to 1/10th of 1% per year, a paltry $500K per anum until I die. I'll even write in my will to return the entire $500,000 the year I die so they don't have to feel like they got taken advantage of if I happen to die before December 31 of that year.

Shoot, I’d even be willing to call it $40,000 per month just to make the math easy.

I'm such a swell guy, ain't I?
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The half I wasn't serious about was where the Bureau of Reclamation pays me $5 M per year. Everything else is spot on.

I've decided to cut my fee to 1/10th of 1% per year, a paltry $500K per anum until I die. I'll even write in my will to return the entire $500,000 the year I die so they don't have to feel like they got taken advantage of if I happen to die before December 31 of that year.

I'm such a swell guy, ain't I?
A real Gem.
If the area wasn't yet infested we could deploy Launch-locks: You separate the main body of water from an area where boats are launched and retrieved.

Inside the lock, you have a concentrated mix of muscle-killer in the water, so as your boat and trailer are exposed it kills anything going in and anything coming out.

You use a two-part lock system that "flushes" the chemicals in and out of the boat circulation system so minimal contamination occurs as boats transition from the launch/retrieval area into the main body of water.

Unfortunately, once it's spread into open water I don't think there is an "environmentally safe method" to eradicate invasive muscles.

Best case scenario is we find another non-native species and introduce them into the eco-system so they eat all the muscles.

But there's no guarantee that wouldn't create more problems than it fixes with even worse unforeseen long-term affects.

Of course, the "solution" is a matter of opinion depending on who sets the agenda. Meaning a "fix" is in the eye of the beholder depending on what their priorities are.

If the dam doesn't operate due to muscle infestation, and they can't generate power because the maintenance is too high, the energy conglomerates will eventually come up with a way of killing the muscles... but I'm pretty sure the rest of us won't like that solution since it will probably (in my opinion) mean killing all the fish too.

Draining Lake Powell is highly unlikely (a legal quagmire due to the water rights owned by multiple states), although there are a LOT of people who would love to see this happen.

Even if we did drain it (which would take years), there's no guarantee it would kill all the muscles, and would take another 30 years to fill back up. So filling it back up is not a forgone conclusion...

You'd need enough run-off to supply continuous annual flows downstream, and still have a water surplus to store in Powell for three decades while it's filling. With all the drought we've seen over the past 20 years, that is unlikely.

Honestly, I don't believe we'll find an environmentally safe solution to the muscles in our lifetime.

So perhaps the best solution is to get out and enjoy it while you still can. Share it with your friends and family. Take care of it, leaving no trace behind... and make lots of great memories.

One thing I do know:

If there's an afterlife, Edward Abbey is laughing at us right now... hoping the muscles are the houseboat bomb that finally dismantles Glen Canyon Dam.

P.S. Don't forget your water shoes.
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