Anti-Mussel Transport solution for boats leaving Lake Powell (an idea for consideration)

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Pegasus

Well-Known Member
GOAL: To ensure all boats/watercraft/trailers leaving Lake Powell are mussel free inside and out

Many of you may recall that in the old days, boat repair shops had "dunk tanks" where they could back a boat on its trailer into a small body of water (not much wider than the trailer) so they could run the engines, air conditioners, test for leaks, etc. Why couldn’t one/two/three of these dunk tanks be installed at the top of each launch ramp on Lake Powell, filled with chlorinated water and monitored properly to maintain enough chlorine to kill mussels (chlorine is a proven killer based upon published research). Each boat leaving the lake would be required to back into the ‘dunk tank’, start their motors, start their air conditioners, fill then empty ballast and fish tanks, then pull out of the water fully decontaminated. While backed in, NPS or State (or private) decon personnel would check interior compartments for standing water just as they do now.

I estimate this process would take an extra 30 minutes per boat, but every boat leaving would be required to go through this process (?local boat exceptions or local storage exceptions to this rule?).

The cost to build these tanks I’d estimate to be $50k-$100k each including the water monitoring/filtering equipment. Ongoing expense would be required to maintain the chlorine needed for killing the mussels. Overall, not inexpensive, but FAR less expensive than the alternative cost of future mussel problems in additional lakes and the cost to clean/maintain pipes in power plants and water systems from lakes contaminated with mussels in the future.

Pros
  • Complete decontamination of engines and all systems on all boats leaving the lake that use the launch ramps
  • Complete decontamination of the trailer of boats leaving the lake that use the launch ramps
  • Not too much extra time involved in the process
  • Inexpensive compared to the cost of future contamination of lakes across the west
  • Can operate year-round without extra personnel when there are none available (i.e. a single user can do this themselves during winter months)
Cons
  • Chlorine is corrosive to metals – leaving high concentrations of chlorine in the boat systems and on the trailer over an extended time may cause long-term issues if used daily, but a couple times a year I’m guessing would not be harmful (this would depend on the concentration of chlorine required to kill the mussels – I don’t know what that number is) Option – a fresh water dunk tank available also to use after the chlorine dunk? (expert opinion needed regarding this point)
  • Adds extra time when leaving the lake to decon (possibly the same amount as today?)
  • Requires up-front cost of several hundred thousand dollars
  • Does not address houseboats as the 'dunk tank' would have to be too big
  • Does not address boats/watercraft launched at primitive areas
I know I have not thought of all the pros and cons of this idea, but thought I’d throw it out to you as food for thought. Shoot holes in the idea at will! Or provide additional constructive idea development. The current decontamination process just seems to have too many holes in it to be trusted, let alone not enough capacity. Chlorine is a known killer of quagga mussels, but maybe its use would not be allowed by NPS? That would obviously throw this idea out the window quickly. -Doug
 
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birdsnest

Well-Known Member
GOAL: To ensure all boats/watercraft/trailers leaving Lake Powell are mussel free inside and out

Many of you may recall that in the old days, boat repair shops had "dunk tanks" where they could back a boat on its trailer into a small body of water (not much wider than the trailer) so they could run the engines, air conditioners, test for leaks, etc. Why couldn’t one/two/three of these dunk tanks be installed at the top of each launch ramp on Lake Powell, filled with chlorinated water and monitored properly to maintain enough chlorine to kill mussels (chlorine is a proven killer based upon published research). Each boat leaving the lake would be required to back into the ‘dunk tank’, start their motors, start their air conditioners, fill then empty ballast and fish tanks, then pull out of the water fully decontaminated. While backed in, NPS or State (or private) decon personnel would check interior compartments for standing water just as they do now.

I estimate this process would take an extra 30 minutes per boat, but every boat leaving would be required to go through this process (?local boat exceptions or local storage exceptions to this rule?).

The cost to build these tanks I’d estimate to be $50k-$100k each including the water monitoring/filtering equipment. Ongoing expense would be required to maintain the chlorine needed for killing the mussels. Overall, not inexpensive, but FAR less expensive than the alternative cost of future mussel problems in additional lakes and the cost to clean/maintain pipes in power plants and water systems from lakes contaminated with mussels in the future.

Pros
  • Complete decontamination of engines and all systems on all boats leaving the lake that use the launch ramps
  • Complete decontamination of the trailer of boats leaving the lake that use the launch ramps
  • Not too much extra time involved in the process
  • Inexpensive compared to the cost of future contamination of lakes across the west
  • Can operate year-round without extra personnel when there are none available (i.e. a single user can do this themselves during winter months)
Cons
  • Chlorine is corrosive to metals – leaving high concentrations of chlorine in the boat systems and on the trailer over an extended time may cause long-term issues if used daily, but a couple times a year I’m guessing would not be harmful (this would depend on the concentration of chlorine required to kill the mussels – I don’t know what that number is) Option – a fresh water dunk tank available also to use after the chlorine dunk? (expert opinion needed regarding this point)
  • Adds extra time when leaving the lake to decon (possibly the same amount as today?)
  • Requires up-front cost of several hundred thousand dollars
  • Does not address houseboats as the 'dunk tank' would have to be too big
  • Does not address boats/watercraft launched at primitive areas
I know I have not thought of all the pros and cons of this idea, but thought I’d throw it out to you as food for thought. Shoot holes in the idea at will! Or provide additional constructive idea development. The current decontamination process just seems to have too many holes in it to be trusted, let alone not enough capacity. Chlorine is a known killer of quagga mussels, but maybe its use would not be allowed by NPS? That would obviously throw this idea out the window quickly. -Doug
But if the personnel don't show up for the current process, what will make them show up for this proposal.?
 

Powelldreamer

Well-Known Member
I had often thought this would be a good idea. The chlorine is an issue for boats and people. I thought why not make then solar heated tanks to take advantage of the sun. This would involve more capital expense. I think in the long run it ends up being a lot safer. There will always be those that choose not to be educated and try and circumvent the process. Oh yeah that's why we have the little suckers now.
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
You asked for cons, so I am going to throw some stones.

It would have to be manned year round to be effective.

I would want to see substantial research on how it would effect everything - steel trailer, wheels, tires, bearings,, carpet, wood buns, winch/strap, fiberglass, decals, props, steering, engine, ballast tanks, ballasts, etc.

Still need a way to decon ropes, life jackets and fenders. Or enforce that it is done.

Would this work for the large cruisers?

Hot water is proven to work as well, and the beginnings of the decon station are already at the lake. Why not build more of those? It takes a professional about 45ish minutes to do my Malibu (I could probably do it just as fast or faster myself, but that is another story). Why not expand that.

Also trying to remember that you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
Chlorine is ineffective against adult mussels...they just close up, and are not exposed. That is why they use 140+ degree water to decon.....
 

John P Funk

Well-Known Member
I guess I'll play a little devil's advocate here as well. In military strategy, when your defenses are breached, you don't waste resources trying to reclaim lost territory. You pull back to an area that you can still protect, and rebuild the line. It would seem to me that the Colorado strategy of decon of every boat prior to launch, would be more effective. That being said you have to make sure that no, and I mean NO!! boat launches without decon or definitive proof of the timing of the last retrieve from infected water(this being difficult I would suggest decon for any boat that is not sealed as clean). Lake Powell was doomed from the start because of it's massive shoreline, and "Self-Certification" paperwork jokes. Why require decon of a boat at Lake Powell if it's going back to Mead, Havasu, or another infected body of water. These policies would also have to be extended to those other bodies to be effective as well. Personally, I would be surprised if the infestation did not spread. Not because people don't care, or are ignorant, but rather because the little suckers are just that pervasive. I hope I'm wrong.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
I guess I'll play a little devil's advocate here as well. In military strategy, when your defenses are breached, you don't waste resources trying to reclaim lost territory. You pull back to an area that you can still protect, and rebuild the line. It would seem to me that the Colorado strategy of decon of every boat prior to launch, would be more effective. That being said you have to make sure that no, and I mean NO!! boat launches without decon or definitive proof of the timing of the last retrieve from infected water(this being difficult I would suggest decon for any boat that is not sealed as clean). Lake Powell was doomed from the start because of it's massive shoreline, and "Self-Certification" paperwork jokes. Why require decon of a boat at Lake Powell if it's going back to Mead, Havasu, or another infected body of water. These policies would also have to be extended to those other bodies to be effective as well. Personally, I would be surprised if the infestation did not spread. Not because people don't care, or are ignorant, but rather because the little suckers are just that pervasive. I hope I'm wrong.
Got to disagree.....the number of lakes with mussels in the western US is still a pretty short list. Many people want to get decontaminated when they leave LP to get their boat clean, regardless of if they are going to be required to get another decon when entering another state/water body. Requiring people to "clean, drain, dry" is pretty easy and will prevent most transmission. I would bet that it was a livewell or, (more likely), a bilge filled with veligers that brought the nasty critters to LP. Just cleaning and drying would more than likely been enough......
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
Got to disagree.....the number of lakes with mussels in the western US is still a pretty short list. Many people want to get decontaminated when they leave LP to get their boat clean, regardless of if they are going to be required to get another decon when entering another state/water body. Requiring people to "clean, drain, dry" is pretty easy and will prevent most transmission. I would bet that it was a livewell or, (more likely), a bilge filled with veligers that brought the nasty critters to LP. Just cleaning and drying would more than likely been enough......
Maybe. Maybe not.

On my Malibu, I can pull all 3 drain plugs, and if you know where to look, you can still find some water left in the hull.

My Lund has one drain plug, and the sane can be said. Plug out, and pull the “access panel” that allows you to view the fuel tank, and you will see water.

If there are thousands of veligers in a cup of water, as is said, it won’t take much residual water to contaminate a clean lake.

Maybe we are fighting a lost cause.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
Maybe. Maybe not.

On my Malibu, I can pull all 3 drain plugs, and if you know where to look, you can still find some water left in the hull.

My Lund has one drain plug, and the sane can be said. Plug out, and pull the “access panel” that allows you to view the fuel tank, and you will see water.

If there are thousands of veligers in a cup of water, as is said, it won’t take much residual water to contaminate a clean lake.

Maybe we are fighting a lost cause.
If you still have standing water, it is not "cleaned, drained and DRIED". If you know where it is, you can wipe it down, not that difficult. A pain I know......Like someone else posted in another thread, if you show up with a wet boat at lakes where they take inspections seriously, they will not let you launch, even if it just looks damp......

Maybe the spread is inevitable, but the more effort we make to slow it down, the more time there will be to hopefully find a solution to these nasty critters!
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
If you still have standing water, it is not "cleaned, drained and DRIED". If you know where it is, you can wipe it down, not that difficult. A pain I know......Like someone else posted in another thread, if you show up with a wet boat at lakes where they take inspections seriously, they will not let you launch, even if it just looks damp......

Maybe the spread is inevitable, but the more effort we make to slow it down, the more time there will be to hopefully find a solution to these nasty critters!
You are right, obviously not dried. But I would be willing to bet significant $ that my Lund would make it through an inspection if I drive in and an inspector sees the plug is out. And my Malibu would need to be decontaminated - but they would do the engine and ballasts, not the hull itself.

My point is that the majority of people will think their boat is dry when it is not. Maybe not the folks here, but we are a community of enthusiasts, and a very small minority of boat owners.

To keep lakes clean you need to account for the lowest common denominator.
 

Dorado

Well-Known Member
Yes, I agree. My hope is that we are required to at least make an effort. And I think it will prevent the spread.
At some water supply lakes in California, you literally will not get past the inspections with any signs of a wet boat, and they don't take explanations. And the message has gotten through to anglers that you better show up with a clean boat, or you are going back home. That is what should have been done at Powell, but we have been over that already😡
 
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