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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