The recent discovery of Quagga mussels at Lake Mead and Lake Havasu is prompting water district officials to initiate measures to prevent further Quaggas outbrbeaks.
Although they are hardly noticeable, these destructive mollusks play havoc with pipelines, docks and cooling systems on boats. Most alarmingly, they upset the food chain in a lake by consuming phytoplankton. In fact, even a moderate infestation of Quaggas can cause a 60 percent reduction in the local fishery.
Boaters should be aware that officials at many lakes are taking steps to protect the environment. For example, at Lake Irvine in Orange County, all private boats must be inspected prior to launching. And at Lake Casitas in Ventura County, boaters must now fill out a questionnaire, stating where the boat has been in the past 30 days; if they were used on lakes that have been infested, they are not allowed on the lake.
For the time being, the new slogan at Southern California lakes is "clean and dry", referring to the fact that boaters keep their boat hulls and bottoms clean and that all bilge water should be drained before coming to the lake the next time.
The Department of Fish and Game has established a Quagga/zebra mussel toll-free hotline (866) 440-9530 to answer questions from the public. It is also in the process of conducting training sessions around the state on how to inspect boats for the mussels.
Content courtesy of Southern California Marine Association.