Boaters – Don’t move a mussel this season

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April 23rd, 2009

The spring boating season is underway and the Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking boaters and anglers to take simple steps to avoid moving destructive quagga mussels and other invasive species from one lake to another.

“Prolific quagga mussels have invaded lakes Pleasant, Havasu, Mead and Mohave. These tiny invaders can easily hitchhike on your boat – 10,000 or more microscopic larvae to fit into a teaspoon of water. So please DON’T Move A Mussel,” said Tom McMahon, invasive species coordinator for the Game and Fish Department.

In fact, these tiny invaders are so prolific that a single adult quagga mussel can produce up to a half-million microscopic larvae in a single year and can eventually carpet vast areas of a lake. So please Drain, Clean and Dry your boat each and every time you visit a lake – any lake.

  • Drain the water from the boat, livewell and the lower unit

  • Clean the hull and remove all plant and animal material

  • Dry the boat and inspect all exposed surfaces

“After you visit a lake or other body of water, wait five days before launching your watercraft someplace else,” McMahon said. “This five-day waiting period will aid tremendously in killing those hidden hitchhikers on your boat, such as the microscopic quagga larvae.”

Even when visiting lakes that are not infected with quagga mussels, these simple steps must to be taken to avoid undesired environmental consequences.

“Quagga mussels can cause extensive problems, but they are not the only aquatic invader out there,” McMahon said. “Be conscientious and do your part – drain, clean and dry your watercraft each and every time you visit a lake. It should be as routine as putting on your safety belt when driving a car or brushing your teeth before bed.”

McMahon also pointed out that quagga mussels can infest boat engines and cause extensive damage, as well as impacting water delivery systems and hydroelectric operations. Invasive mussels have caused billions of dollars in Midwestern waters.

Boaters who take the precautionary steps are the first line of defense against these and other aquatic invaders. Those who don’t drain, clean and dry pose a significant environmental threat. Don’t be a threat.

Some lakes in California have been closed to boating to prevent quagga invasions and others could be closed. Some waters, such as Lake Powell in Arizona and Utah, require mandatory inspections before you can launch your boat.

“Quagga mussels do pose a serious threat,” McMahon said. “You don’t want to be the one responsible for infesting beautiful treasures like Lake Powell or Big Lake. The remedial steps are easy. The consequences of not taking them can be dire.”

Learn more about aquatic invasive species at www.azgfd.gov/mussels.

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