Thursday, December 7, 2023

Protect Mendocino County Waters From the Quagga and Zebra Mussel Invasion


The following is a press release issued by the County of Mendocino:

Zebra mussels crowding native sealife in Washington State [Image from the Washington Invasive Species Council]

Did you know that a tiny mollusk native to Europe can wreak havoc on boats, pipes, and other infrastructure in California? Quagga and zebra mussels were introduced to the United States in the 1980s through ballast water from a European ship. These invasive mussels have microscopic larvae, reproduce quickly, and will form dense mats that blankets infrastructure, water pipes, and boat hulls, and degrades aquatic habitat and ecosystems for native species.

Fortunately, there are currently no quagga or zebra mussels in North Coast waterways, including Mill Creek Ponds, Lake Mendocino, or Lake Sonoma. “Thankfully, we have not found any invasive mussels in our lakes, and we hope that trend continues,” says Amber Fisette, Deputy Director of Transportation for the Mendocino County Department of Transportation. “The County knows that the mussels are present in the south Bay Area, where they cause enormous damage to watercraft, water infrastructure, and wildlife habitat. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen here.”

To increase public awareness of this issue, the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) will be hosting a free event at Low Gap Park on September 23rd from 8:30-12, during the Russian River Clean-up day. Meet water-lovers, anglers, boaters and others who enjoy our local creeks, ponds, and lakes and help us protect our waters from invasion by trash and pests.

Mendocino County, California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, and MCRCD developed the mussel monitoring program. “The key to preventing infestation by mussels is a simple motto: Clean! Drain! Dry!” says Denise Woods, MCRCD Water Resources Project Manager. “So, every time you remove your boat from a waterbody, clean it and all your gear: remove plant material; drain the bilge, ballast, and buckets; and thoroughly dry all equipment before launching anywhere else. Even clean your shoes and shoelaces. Please don’t be that person who accidentally brings these pests to infest our clean waterbodies. Don’t move a mussel!”

The September 23nrd Russian River clean-up event is co-sponsored by Mendocino County and Redwood Waste Solutions. Want to help with the river clean-up? Pre-register at https://mcrcd.org/mcrcd-news/2023-ukiah-valley-russian-river-clean-up. Want to learn more about the mussel prevention program? Visit www.mendocinocounty.org/dontmoveamussel.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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