State Steps-Up Zebra and Quagga Mussel Inspections

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, July 3, 2009

California boaters may spend a little more time on dry land than they want to over the Fourth of July weekend.   The state is setting up  inspection stations on docks to check boats for invasive species of fresh water mussels.   Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports...

Zebra and Quagga (KWAH-Guh) mussels are native to Russia but they’ve been showing up in California waters since the 1990’s.  They’ve been transported to the United States in ship ballast water.  The State Fish And Game Department’s Susan Ellis says the mussels are a big problem in the Colorado River and in some lakes around southern California.  She says inspectors will be out statewide over the holiday weekend checking boats for the mussels before they enter the water.  Ellis says the mussels can harm the habitat of other wildlife and damage drinking water pipes... 
“Clogging any of that  water delivery system could cause some serious economic problems.  And, many of our ecosystems in the state are highly vulnerable and one more invasive species can really change the food web...the dynamics of the system...”
Boaters are required to pay a fee to have their vessels inspected for Zebra and Quagga mussels at Lake Tahoe.   The inspections are free elsewhere in the state.  Governor Schwarzenegger recently appointed an advisory committee that’s looking into other methods to prevent the spread of the mussels and other invasive species in California.