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STOCKTONFWO: Aquatic Invasive Species Program Assists with Facilitation at Southern California Quagga and Zebra Mussel Control Workshop
California-Nevada Offices , February 2, 2012
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Participants of the workshop receiving hands on experience with quagga mussels at Lake Murray.
Participants of the workshop receiving hands on experience with quagga mussels at Lake Murray. - Photo Credit: USFWS
A decrease in lake level reveals quagga mussels encrusting vegetation.
A decrease in lake level reveals quagga mussels encrusting vegetation. - Photo Credit: USFWS

The quagga mussel, and its cousin the zebra mussel, are widely considered to be among the worst invasive species on the planet.

Since the discovery of the introduction of the quagga mussel in Lake Mead, Lake Havasu, and waterways and reservoirs connected to the Colorado River aqueduct, millions of dollars have been spent by water managers to control this mussel. In addition to the control measures in the Colorado River system, costly efforts are underway to control and potentially eradicate an infestation of zebra mussels in the smaller and more isolated San Justo Reservoir, which sits in the foothills just outside Hollister, California.

Much of the effort in the western United States has focused on preventing their introduction into uninfested waterbodies. The Quagga and Zebra Mussel Eradication and Control Workshop, coordinated and hosted by California Sea Grant, at Lake Murray, California, was one of the first workshops dedicated to helping both infested and uninfested western water bodies with eradication, control, and response strategies.

The workshop consisted of presentations by groups that have participated in efforts to control or eradicate these mussels, break-out groups focused on developing control implementation and a tour of two infested waterbodies (El Capitan Reservoir and Lake Murray).

Steve Chilton, the Service's Lake Tahoe and Northern Nevada Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, and Jonathan Thompson, a biologist with the Service's Pacific Southwest Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Program, facilitated two of the five break-out groups, demonstrated early-detection techniques during the Lake Murray tour, and assisted with overall coordination of the workshop.

California Sea Grant will be developing worksheets that provide information about how to implement various control strategies. In addition, Thompson will be coordinating a collaboration of the organizations representing the uninfested waterbodies that were in attendance, with the goal of developing Rapid Response plans, and regional inspection and decontamination coordination.

Freshwater mussels, also sometimes called Eurasian mussels, referring to the area where they are native, have wreaked havoc on areas where they have become invasive. When introduced, the mussels can spread rapidly (within the water-body) due to their high reproductive capabilities and attach to and clog a wide variety of surfaces such as pipes, pumps, and the shoreline.

They can filter over a liter of water per day thus altering ecosystems. Also, because of their ability to survive out of water (when weather conditions allow), they can be transported overland as adults and juveniles attached to trailered boats or equipment. The mussels can also be transported as veligers (larval life stage) in standing water such as boat bilges and bait buckets.


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



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