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Contact: Roxanne Dey, 702.293.8947
Recreational scuba divers are invited to report their sightings of quagga and zebra mussels to a website collecting information on the spread of these invasive equipment-fouling bivalves west of the Mississippi River.
The 100th Meridian Initiative, an interagency clearing house working to stop the spread of nuisance aquatic species in the United States, has established a “diver reports” section on its webpage, http://www.100thMeridian.org. Divers are invited to report GPS coordinates and/or locations, depths, and density.
Kent Turner, Chief of Resources Management at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, said that input from the recreational diving community will be invaluable in determining the extent of mussel infestation in the Colorado River basin. If we receive a quagga report from scuba divers, we can use our limited diving resources to make an assessment of the extent of the infestation Turner adds.
Divers will also find descriptive data and photographs on the 100th Meridian webpage where a clear distinction is made quagga/zebra mussels and the less troublesome Asian clam, a similar freshwater species.
Divers are also advised to take precautions in decontaminating their dive equipment after diving in infested waters in order to prevent accidental spread to other waters. Information on decontamination of dive equipment can be found at the 100th Meridian website, www.100thmeridian.org, and a companion website, www.protectyourwaters.org.