Highline Lake mussel find means years of inspections for departing boats — The #GrandJunction Daily Sentinel

Zebra and Quagga Mussels

Click the link to read the article on the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel website (Dennis Webb). Here’s an excerpt:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff found an adult zebra mussel at the popular Grand Valley boating destination on Wednesday during routine invasive-species sampling, and said Friday that two of its experts independently confirmed the identification of the mussel, including through genetic confirmation…This is the first-ever discovery of an adult zebra or quagga mussel in Colorado. Both are native to Europe and pose concern because they quickly reproduce and spread to new waters, clogging pipes and other infrastructure with their shells and posing ecological impacts as they filter out and eat plankton, threatening the aquatic food chain and fisheries.

In May of 2018, USGS Hydrologic Technician Dave Knauer found a batch of zebra mussels attached to the boat anchor in the St. Lawrence River in New York. (Credit: John Byrnes, USGS. Public domain.)

Colorado has had intensive protocols in place in an attempt to keep the two species out of the state. On occasion larval-stage mussel “veligers” have been found in some state reservoirs or lakes, but fortunately in all those cases, the mussels never established themselves in those water bodies, all of which are now considered negative for them. Under the precautionary protocols followed in Colorado whenever there is a single confirmed instance of either mussel being present at any age in a water body, however, boats leaving Highline will now be subject for three years to mandatory inspection, and if necessary decontamination, to prevent the mussel from spreading elsewhere. If three years pass without further detections, the measures can be dropped.

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