Posts tagged: zebra mussels
BOATING — Mandatory watercraft inspection stations have barely opened for the season in Idaho, and they already have reported finding the year's first boat fouled with quagga mussels, a potentially devastating invasive species.
The boat was checked at the Cotterell Port of Entry station on Interstate 84 near Burley.
The program aims to inspect boats that are entering the region from mussel-infested states. The boat intercepted at the Cotterell inspection station recently spent time in Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Lake Powell, operated by the National Park Service, recently was identified as infested with quagga and zebra mussels.
The National Park Service still does not require decontamination of watercraft leaving its facilities with mussel infestations, even though it means possible introduction of these invasive species to the clean waters of the Pacific Northwest. This also indicates that potentially infested boats are being transported outside of the traditional boating season, which is a concern for Pacific Northwest states.
Since Idaho initiated its watercraft inspection program in 2009, nearly 200,000 boats have been inspected. About 100 mussel-fouled boats have been intercepted and decontaminated before they launched into Pacific Northwest waters, the Idaho Department of Agriculture reports.
“Idaho’s watercraft inspection program underscores the importance of preventing these mussels from becoming established in Idaho’s waters,” Agriculture Director Celia Gould said. “All of Idaho’s waterbodies have tested negative for these species, but they have been found in waters of other western states, and are causing severe economic and environmental harm in other regions of the country. We continue to work with our regional partners to prevent these fouled boats from launching in Pacific Northwest waters.
“Catching mussel-fouled boats so early in the season is a real wake up call. The more the public is educated about these invaders, the more enthusiastic and vigilant they are in joining efforts to keep them out of the Pacific Northwest.”
Idaho law requires all boaters must stop at the stations, such as the one on Interstate 90 near Fourth of July Pass.
Watercraft inspectors are looking for high-risk boats that have been in quagga- and zebra-mussel impacted waters such as Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Havasu and Lake Pleasant.
If you have launched in a mussel-infested waterbody in the last 30 days, you must have an inspection before you launch in Idaho. For a complete list of infested waters, a five-year summary of inspection efforts, and a list of Idaho inspection stations, see: www.invasivespecies.idaho.gov
Read on for recommendations for boaters:
INVASIVE SPECIES — Having the invasive quagga mussels booming in Utah's Lake Powell is like having a deadly contagious disease at a major national airport with folks coming and going in all directions — including Idaho, a federal biologist says.
He's trying to get the word out before boaters flood out of Idaho to Utah for spring break.
Here's the story from Rob Thornberry of the Idaho Falls Post Register:
With Utah finding more quagga mussels in Lake Powell, the likelihood they will find their way to Idaho is increasing, said Lee Mabey, a forest fisheries biologist with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
Having the mussels in Lake Powell is like having a deadly contagious disease at a major national airport with folks coming and going in all directions, including Idaho, Mabey said. The rate of spread of the mussels could be very rapid now that Lake Powell is infected.
Mabey is trying to raise awareness of the problem before people travel south for spring break.
Data from the Idaho Department of Agriculture’s five years of boat inspections indicates Lake Powell is the most frequently visited mussel-fouled water body by Idaho boaters. Many of these vessels have been out of the water less than 30 days at the time they are inspected, posing a significant risk of transporting larval or adult mussels to the Gem State.
In 2013, Idaho inspected 568 boats that had recently come from Mead, Powell, Mohave, Havasu or Pleasant lakes. All those waters have mussels.
Idaho does not, and officials are keen on keeping it that way.
If quagga or zebra mussels take hold in Idaho, the state’s lake fisheries will be forever changed and the irrigation and hydropower industry could face millions of dollars in added expenses. Undoubtedly these expenses will be passed on to the consumer, Mabey said.
Quagga mussels are prolific breeders and attach themselves to hard and soft surfaces. Once in a lake, they filter plankton from the water, robbing fish of food.
“If we get these mussels in our lakes, it is going to turn the ecology upside down,” Mabey said. “Our fish populations would crash. It is simple biology — a lake only supports so much biomass. You can have plankton and fish or you can have plankton and mussels.”
Mabey encourages all anglers and boaters to take the threat seriously and learn about proper precautions to keep the marauders out of Idaho.
- Click here for more information on steps boaters can take to prevent spread of invasive mussels.
“We need everybody to take part in prevention,” he said. “We can’t rely on just inspection stations. We need to have a change in mentality of all users. Just like anglers have adopted catch-and-release regulation, we need boaters and all water users to adopt clean, drain and dry after each excursion.”
Jordan Nielson, a Madison High School graduate, is the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He said government agencies are doing well to slow the spread of mussels, but those efforts will be wasted if boaters don’t change their habits.
“We need a paradigm shift,” he said. “The state agency can only do so much. People have to realize they have a responsibility when they go boating to make sure they aren’t moving things around. It is essential.”
INVASIVE SPECIES — An Independent Economic Advisory Board update released last week indicates that the money spent – an estimated $5 million per year from a variety of sources — in attempts to ward off an invasion of non-native zebra and quagga mussels into the Columbia River basin is money well spent.
However, the report acknowledges there's still a probability the damaging species will eventually get into the Columbia and Snake River systems and raise havoc for irrigators, municipalities and hydropower managers, not to mention boaters and anglers.
See the story from the Columbia Basin Bulletin.
INVASIVE SPECIES — A dive team to assess an outbreak of invasive asian clams in the Hope area of Lake Pend Oreille is being organized for Monday by the Idaho Department of Agriculture and Bonner County.
The clams were detected recently during the pre-runoff lake drawdown.
This is serious business. Somebody let down their guard and brought these clams into the lake, probably by not cleaning their boat after using it outside the area.
The clams multiply fast, suck in algae and excrete high-nutrient pellets that can foul water and turn those famous clear-water bays green.
Apparently we need to crank up the penalties to thousands of dollars and JAIL TIME to get the message out.
Idaho Department of Agriculture’s boat inspection stations, open since March 1, already have caught 11 boats entering Idaho carrying invasive mussels into Idaho.
The department has set up 15 inspection stations across the state as a line of defense against the invasion of zebra or quagga mussels.
If you think it's an inconvenience, you're not educated on the subject.
INVASIVE SPECIES — Washington, Idaho and Oregon are among the Northwest states and provinces involved in lobbying the federal government to assure that a $1 million appropriation line item in the Department of Interior’s 2012 budget is spent to help cut off the spread of invasive quagga mussels from a main source – the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Other states and groups involved in the campaign include the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, Colorado River Fish and Wildlife Council and Pacific Northwest Economic Region, according to a Columbia Basin Bulletin report.
Last year several boats infested with invasive species from Lake Mead were intercepted by Northwest states at highway check stations. The Northwest region’s water-related infrastructure such as hydro projects and irrigation systems is at risk, as well as recreation and aquatic environments.
BOATING — North Idaho has five invasive species boat inspection sites open through Sept. 9 to check boats for zebra and Quagga mussels that could infest the state's waters.
The state Agriculture Department's Invasive Species Program is operating the sites 7 a.m.-7 p.m. as follows:
People transporting a watercraft near boat inspection stations are required to stop.
When going to any different water, remember to Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat.
For more info on boat inspections nationwide, click above to check out the just-released video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
INVASIVE SPECIES — Mike Wilkinson, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s aquatic invasive species biologist, will give a free program focusing on the threat of zebra mussels invading the region’s waters on Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council office, 6116 N. Market St.
INVASIVE SPECIES — Washington officials found invasive zebra mussels on a boat coming into Washington Saturday at the stateline port of entry near the Idaho border.
Both Idaho and Washington are ramping up their surveillance for these invasives with horrible consequences to our waterways.
Read on for more about this particular case as well as about Idaho's mandatory boat check stations.
WATERWAYS — Two boats infested with invasive mussels were intercepted at a North Idaho checkpoint, state officials said Monday.
Idaho Department of Agriculture said in a press release the boats were stopped at a station on Interstate 90 near Wallace on Thursday. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports one of the boats was headed to Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, while the other was destined for Gig Harbor in western Washington.
The mussels have many western states taking preventative steps because they can destroy food chains, threaten waterways and fisheries. So far, Idaho waters are free of the invasive species, but two years ago the state Legislature passed laws requiring that all boats be tested.
Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin says last week’s incident underscores the threat that invasive mussels pose to Idaho.
WATERWAYS — Inconclusive test results showing signs of invasive mussels in Flathead Lake still have downstream interests on edge.
“Part of me still stands strong and thinking positive that it’s going to be OK,” said Erin Mader of the Pend Oreille Basin Commission in Sandpoint.
Results from a second round of tests to verify whether invasive quagga and zebra mussels have taken root in Flathead Lake could be revealed next week, according to officials from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
“I’m optimistic because a similar thing resulted from initial tests on the Snake River last year and they later were deemed negative,” Mader said.
FISHING – Signs of exotic mussels have been found in a routine plankton sample taken in July from the northern end of Flathead Lake, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department officials announced this afternoon.
Verification testing is still under way.
Test results from independent labs in the Midwest suggest that tiny organisms within the sample have characteristics consistent with zebra and quagga mussels. Results from a lab in Oregon, however, suggest the sample shows no sign of mussel contamination.