Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Aquatic Invasive Species

There are many aquatic invasive species that wreak havoc on Nevada streams, rivers and lakes. These aquatic invasive species can be fish such as tilapia, plants such as water milfoil, or tiny snails such as New Zealand mud snails. None of these, however, have had as damaging of an impact to the environment, recreation, and infrastructure as the thumbnail size quagga and zebra mussels.

Since their introduction to the Great Lakes in 1986, the mussels have spread to rivers and lakes throughout the east. In January 2007, the quagga mussel was discovered in the Western United States and has been confirmed in Nevada, Arizona and California. The primary way these invasive mussels spread is on boats and trailers. If your boat or personal watercraft has been in infested waters, it could be carrying quagga or zebra mussels. They attach to boats and motors and their microscopic larvae (called veilgers) can be unintentionally transported in water held in live wells, bilges, or bait buckets.

Quagga and zebra mussels feed by filtering water and removing large amounts of food, effectively starving native species in infested rivers and lakes. The waste they produce accumulates and degrades the environment, using up oxygen, making water acidic and producing toxic byproducts. They reproduce so quickly (over one million eggs per year) they clog power plants, public water intakes and pipes, and constrict flow reducing the intake in heat exchangers, condensers, firefighting equipment, and air conditioning and cooling systems. They colonize in large numbers on a variety of surfaces including boats, motors and docks.

Don't Move A Mussel

Before Launching...
Before Leaving...
Inspect Everything!

Prevent the spread of these damaging invasive species by following these simple steps:
  • REMOVE any visible mud, plants, fish or other animals before transporting equipment
  • ELIMINATE all water from your boat and equipment before moving anywhere
  • CLEAN, DRAIN, AND DRY everything that came into contact with water (including boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.)
  • NEVER release plants, fish or other animals into a body of water unless they came from that same body of water

Last updated: April 16, 2014