Thirteen individuals received citations by the Arizona Game and Fish Department during a quagga mussel and boat safety operation conducted over the weekend.

“One individual still had clinging vegetation from their vessel,” said Suzanne Ehret with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The operation included the patrol of launching docks at Lake Havasu State Park, the Island and other launching ramps in Parker and throughout La Paz County.

“We sent out officers to look for individuals who did not make an effort to try to clean, drain and dry their boats properly,” said Deanna Pfleger, wildlife manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Aside from the 13 citations given, three warnings were issued to boaters who failed to unplug their boats.

Every year, many states and the federal government are doing more to crack down on the accidental or negligent transport of the mussels to new bodies of water.

“We are getting more boaters from out of town. Keeping a boat clean is the right thing to do,” said Jim Salscheider, president of the Lake Havasu Marine Association. “If we don’t clean our boats, it becomes a government issue.”

Quagga mussels were first found in the western United States at Lake Mead in 2007 and have since spread throughout the region. They are common in the lower Colorado River and its reservoirs.

Arizonan law has required boaters to properly clean their boats and plugs for the past three years but it wasn’t heavily enforced until this year.

“This is the first year that we have issued tickets for quagga mussel violations so it will be up to the county judges to determine how much the violators will need to pay for these citations,” Pfleger said.

Violators included boaters from Oregon, Arizona, California and Alberta Canada.

You may contact the reporter at jcruz@havasunews.com.

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