|These small Quagga mussels were found on a boat that stopped at the Ontario boat inspection station. ODFW photo|
Invasive Quagga mussels stopped at the border
March 10, 2016
ONTARIO, Ore –Quagga mussels once again were prevented from entering Oregon and potentially causing millions in damage to our state’s water systems and ecosystems.
Yesterday, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technicians at the Ontario boat inspection station intercepted a Quagga mussel infested boat last used in Lake Havasu, Arizona which is plagued with these invaders.
The station just opened March 3.This is the first vessel of the 2016 inspection season found infested with the invasive mussels.
“In six days of being open for inspection, it’s alarming we already found a boat carrying these mussels. Zebra and Quagga mussels have caused billions in economic damage around the U.S., and we don’t want those kinds of problems here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator.
Boatner praised the driver for pulling in for inspection. Motorists hauling boats in Oregon are required to stop at inspection stations to have their watercraft checked for aquatic invasive species under a 2011 Oregon law. Failure to stop at an inspection station could result in a $110 fine.
Although the boat was decontaminated at Lake Havasu, it was obviously contaminated and encrusted with a high number of Quagga mussels in the around the propeller shaft, engine, and trim tab. Technicians decontaminated the boat by scraping and then washing it with 140 degree hot water and high-pressure.
According to the Columbia Basin Bulletin,the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, is the “only region in North America” unaffected by the Zebra and Quagga mussel invasions that have devastated ecosystems and local economies. The U.S. Geological Survey has a Quagga and Zebra mussel distribution map on its website.
In addition to Quagga and Zebra mussels, inspectors look for aquatic plants and New Zealand mudsnails.
Boat owners need to always practice ‘Clean, Drain, Dry’ before launching their boat:
Clean the boat completely, pulling off any plant material, animals or mud.
Drain – completely drain any areas that could hold standing water by pulling all drain plugs and soaking up any standing water.
Dry – allow the boat to dry before launching again.
Anglers should also clean and disinfect their waders, boots and fishing gear to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species such as tiny New Zealand mudsnails and aquatic invasive plants.
Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permits are required to boat in Oregon for motorized boats, paddle craft and non-motorized vessels 10 feet and over. The permits can be purchased on-line at the Oregon Marine Board website or anywhere that sells Oregon Fish or Hunting licenses.