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REGION8: Pacific Southwest Regions Conducts Workshops FPR Early Detection Monitoring for Quagga and Zebra Mussels
California-Nevada Offices , June 21, 2011
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Zebra mussels attached to a native freshwater mussel. Photo Credit: USFWS
Zebra mussels attached to a native freshwater mussel. Photo Credit: USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Carrie Culver with California Sea Grant delivering a presentation at Lake Cachuma Recreation Area.  Photo Credit: USFWS
Carrie Culver with California Sea Grant delivering a presentation at Lake Cachuma Recreation Area. Photo Credit: USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Aquatic Invasive Species biologist Jonathan Thompson helping participants learn species identification. Photo Credit: USFWS
Aquatic Invasive Species biologist Jonathan Thompson helping participants learn species identification. Photo Credit: USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Lake Murray has been invaded by the quagga mussels.  Here the participants are searching for a grain sized mussel on the bottom of an encrusted boat. Photo Credit: USFWS
Lake Murray has been invaded by the quagga mussels. Here the participants are searching for a grain sized mussel on the bottom of an encrusted boat. Photo Credit: USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Lake Murray docks in La Mesa, California.  Participants are learning about tactile searches for quagga mussels.  Photo Credit: USFWS
Lake Murray docks in La Mesa, California. Participants are learning about tactile searches for quagga mussels. Photo Credit: USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

Nationwide, the costs of controlling and managing invasive species has exceeded billions of dollars. In 2010, Sam Hamilton, at the time the Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said that invasive species are “probably the single greatest threat in our country to our native wildlife.”  "Invasive species", as defined in Executive Order 13112 (signed by President Clinton in 1999), means an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. 

Zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater invasive species that are established in several water bodies within California and Nevada.  In 2007, a population of quagga mussels was discovered in Lake Mead and mussels were subsequently discovered in Lakes Mohave and Havasu in the Colorado River and in the Colorado River Aqueduct System which serves southern California.  Additionally, a population of zebra mussels was discovered in San Justo Reservoir in 2008. The impacts that are already occurring due to these introductions include but are not limited to millions of dollars being spent to manage the quagga mussels in the Colorado River Aqueduct System, a quarantine of San Justo reservoir, and recreational boaters having to spend time and money on inspections and decontamination.   The quagga and zebra mussels are spread through human mediated pathways such as ballast water and hull fouling in the shipping industry and tailored recreational boats.  

Invasive species introductions require developing prevention, management, and control actions.  Many collaborations between state, federal, and local government and non-government partners have been created to work on preventing, managing, and controlling the quagga and zebra mussels.  As part of the effort to prevent the spread of the quagga and zebra mussel to areas where they are not introduced, the U.S .Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Program has conducted 10 workshops for the general public and organizations including water districts, California State Parks, National Park Service, California Department of Fish and Game, San Diego River Park Foundation, and others.   

The goal of these workshops is  to educate any interested parties about monitoring for the quagga and zebra mussel in order to discover them at the early stages of an introduction.  Detection of incipient populations allows for the implementation of management actions such as limiting or closing boat traffic and/or control options such as mechanical removal of the newly established mussels. Participants at the workshops are given information about the quagga and zebra mussel life-history, current established populations, and early detection monitoring techniques.  In addition, participants receive an overview of invasive species topics including information on invasive species pathways, identification, impacts, and tools to prevent their spread. 

The workshops were previously funded through a grant from CALFED (now the Delta Science Program) and are still available as part of the Aquatic Invasive Species program.  The workshops have been conducted through collaboration with the following partners:  California Department of Fish and Game, San Diego River Park Foundation, East Bay Municipal Water District, City of San Diego, Salmonid Restoration Federation, California State Parks, Lake Cachuma Recreation Area, North Bay Watershed Association and Carrie Culver of California Sea Grant. The workshops were started in October 2010 and were held within California at various locations from Arcata to Lake Tahoe to San Diego.  The workshops are continuing throughout 2011 and there are plans to broaden the workshop into Nevada.  Please contact the AIS program for more information.

 


Contact Info: Jonathan Thompson, (209)946-6400 ext315, jonathan_thompson@fws.gov



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