Low water levels in Lake Powell have revealed a much bigger problem with quagga mussels than was previously believed.
The invasive mussels have been spreading through waterways across North America. They can damage dams and power plants as well as fisheries. Mark Hadley with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says the water level in Lake Powell has dropped by about eight feet over the past year, and that’s revealed some huge numbers of the tiny shellfish clinging to exposed rocks.
The least chub is a little minnow, only about two inches long. The six remaining wild populations are found only in springs and creeks in western Utah, and about 15-thousand of them have found a new home. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources stocked a spring system on a private ranch in Fairfield, west of Utah Lake. Mark Grover, a biologist with the Division, says the fish were raised in a state hatchery, but they come from a dwindling population at Mona Springs in Juab County.
More than 300 dead fish were found yesterday in a stretch of the Provo River near Paul Ream Wilderness Park in northwest Provo. Most were brown trout, but there were a few whitefish and other species. Biologist Chris Crockett with the Division of Wildlife Resources says they don’t know what killed them. It’s possible the hot weather depleted oxygen in the water, but they’re also trying to find out if there was some kind of toxic spill.
A confrontation last night between Boy Scout Camp leaders and a bear in the Uinta Mountains ended with a dead bear and possible charges being filed against a camp leader. It happened at the Hinckley Scout Ranch along the East Fork of the Bear River near the Utah-Wyoming border. Jodie Anderson with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says they tried to trap a bear reported in the area earlier in the week. They got a call from the camp that a bear had been shot after camp leaders tried to chase a bear from the top of a table while it was eating something.
Hundreds of migrating birds crash-landed at Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground overnight, apparently mistaking a parking lot in a snowstorm for water. Al Vogel, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army, says these are eared grebes, a species that can’t take off from land. Vogel says the Army’s own wildlife specialists and the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources are working to rescue the birds that survived.
"They’ll take the birds to a nearby pond on post, let ‘em rest there and then they’ll take off and continue their migration," Vogel tells KUER.