May 24, 2013 | by Peter Schrappen
When you hear the word “mussels” your mind probably jumps to the Northwest delicacy that’s just coming into season. Unfortunately, we are not talking here about those mussels. Rather, there are two types of mussels that are on a Most Wanted list due to their ability to destroy entire ecosystems and bring down hydroelectric and irrigation systems. It’s enough to keep you up at night.
We are talking about zebra and quagga mussels. Fortunately for us, they haven’t made their way into Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. So you know, they love the fresh water (unlike the tunicates that enjoy our salt water). It’s something that has Washington state’s Fish & Wildlife Agency concerned enough that they championed legislation that passed this legislative session to give them more authority to require boats getting transported over land to have proper paperwork, deeming them “invasive free.”
What can you do? The first thing we’d recommend is to know what you are looking for. Here are up-close pictures of these critters:
Second, be on the lookout, especially if you are a boatyard that is receiving a boat from outside the state. Should you find zebra and quagga mussels, immediately phone Sergeant Carl Klein of Fish & Wildlife (360-902-2426).
The Clean Boating Foundation is doing what we can to prevent invasive species from being introduced into our waters with education and encouragement to boatyards, through the Clean Boatyard checklist, to know what to look for and to actively be on the lookout.Second, be on the lookout, especially if you are a boatyard that is receiving a boat from outside the state. Should you find zebra and quagga mussels, immediately phone Sergeant Carl Klein of Fish & Wildlife (360-902-2426).
You should also know that our state has teamed up with the other non-zebra and -quagga states to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent their infestation. I attended a conference last week and, boy, were there some important people in the room. Clean Boating was the only environmental group represented, which was fine by me. On the drive back, I saw all the scotch broom in full bloom along the highway and lamented just how much life that invasive weed has killed. Imagine what something like that would do to our fresh-water lakes and ponds should an equivalent take hold.
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