current distribution of zebra mussels in North America. As you can see,
they’ve spread throughout the Great Lakes and into the St. Lawrence Seaway,
and also through the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Hudson, Tennessee and
Arkansas River systems. They’re currently found in 21 states and 2 provinces
|Note the red dot
on the Missouri River, east of Nebraska and just north of the Platte River.
That’s the population closest to the West Coast at the present time. Several
years ago, a group of state, provincial, and federal agencies looked at the
map of zebra mussel distribution and decided they didn’t want zebra mussels
or any other invasive species to come any closer to the West. The group is
called the 100th Meridian Initiative, because their goal is to
keep invasive species out of the 100th meridian jurisdictions.
(The 100th meridian runs right through the middle of North and
South Dakota, Nebraska, and on down through Texas.)
includes a number of components, including monitoring, which I’ll talk about
later. But first, it’s important to note that the timing of the 100th
Meridian Initiative was important too, especially when you realize that the
western states are expecting a lot of tourism beginning in 2004 – especially
along the route that might be the worst choice if you want to prevent the
spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species.