The State Department of Fish and Game is working to help prevent the spread of an invasive mussel that can damage entire ecosystems.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Along I- 5 in Tehama County, California Game Warden Duane Little and his crew are pulling over any vehicle carrying a watercraft – from inner-tubes to luxury yachts. Then they have specially-trained mussel-sniffing dogs inspect the boats for tiny zebra and quagga mussles:
“They have different modes of alerting. Some will sit, some will bark, some will paw. And then we do a closer inspection and we have the biologist look for the Quagga mussel in those areas.”
So far they haven’t found any that far north. But Little says in Southern California – especially San Diego County - the mussels are already a problem – and he says they can do major damage:
“They will get into irrigation and water delivery systems and clog up the intakes – dams and so forth – the hydraulic aspects of it – they will clog up the intakes of those.”
Little says boaters can help prevent the spread by cleaning, draining and drying their watercraft after using it.