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Tuesday, November 12, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

State, tribes, feds prep for mussel invasion

Zebra mussels are on display during a press conference at the Spokane Watercraft Inspection Decontamination Station near Liberty Lake on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The newest member of the team is Puddles, the 2-year-old Jack Russel terrier trained to protect Washington's waterways from invasive species. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Zebra mussels are on display during a press conference at the Spokane Watercraft Inspection Decontamination Station near Liberty Lake on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The newest member of the team is Puddles, the 2-year-old Jack Russel terrier trained to protect Washington's waterways from invasive species. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

State, federal and tribal governments will hold a practice on how to respond if invasive mussels make it to Lake Roosevelt.

Invasive quagga and zebra mussels are small, non-native, freshwater mollusks that have caused significant environmental and economic harm in the United States, according to a news release from Washington’s Invasive Species Council.

“Zebra and quagga mussels have not been found in Washington waters, but they have been found on boats transported across state lines. In the past two years alone, we have intercepted more than 50 boats with mussels attached,” Allen Pleus, aquatic invasive species manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in the release. “We see this exercise as a critical, proactive step to safeguard our state’s ecosystems and economic interests.”

The mussels clog pipes and mechanical systems. It’s estimated they would cost the state more than $100 million a year if they make it into Washington waters.

In the practice exercise scheduled for Oct. 23, the National Park Service, Spokane Tribe of Indians and WDFW will lead an emergency effort to respond to a practice scenario in which quagga and zebra mussels are verified at the Kettle Falls Marina in Lake Roosevelt.

The exercise will include deploying and testing a containment system, boat inspections at Kettle Falls marina, a boat decontamination station and in-water monitoring by skilled divers and scientists.

Other agencies involved in the practice response effort include the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and other state environmental and natural resource agencies through the Washington Invasive Species Council.

Recreational boaters are asked to clean, drain and dry their boats when transporting them, and to stop at all check stations.

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