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Contact: Barbara Alberti, (530) 242-3445
The National Park Service at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has implemented a Quagga and Zebra Mussel Prevention Program for Whiskeytown Lake. The park is requesting that all vessel owners certify that their boat is free of aquatic nuisance species prior to being launched at Whiskeytown Lake. Self certification packets are available on the park’s website (www.nps.gov/whis). Vessels may be inspected by park employees or concession staff prior to being launched. Vessels determined to be free of quagga or zebra mussels by park staff will receive a Whiskeytown Mussel-Free decal to be attached to the hull. The decal is valid for the remainder of 2008.
Quagga and zebra mussels are exotic mussels native to Ukraine and Russia that were most likely introduced to the Great Lakes from ballast water discharge. Quagga and zebra mussels are easily transported between water bodies by boats and have recently contaminated lakes and reservoirs in Southern California. The mussels quickly cover most surfaces and can clog boat motor cooling systems as well as municipal water intake structures, agricultural irrigation systems, and power plant operations. Mussel colonies also consume large amounts of phytoplankton and zooplankton which disrupts the ecological balance of entire bodies of water. Mussels are primarily moved from one water body to another through human-related activities. They can survive out of water for up to a week and the microscopic larvae can be transported in bilges, ballast water, live wells, or other equipment that holds water. Researchers estimated that the economic impact of the Great Lakes mussel infestation to industries, businesses, and communities was more than $5 billion between 1993-1999.
Currently, there are 18 lakes and reservoirs in Southern California that are infested with quagga mussels. Superintendent Jim Milestone stated, “We are very concerned about the threat of quagga mussels entering Whiskeytown Lake. It is the responsibility of every boat owner to ensure their vessels are free of mussels before launching into Whiskeytown Lake.”
Boats that have been in contaminated waters need to be washed thoroughly and dried for at least 5 days before entering uninfested waters. It is important to remove all dirt, plants, and water from boats. Dispose of all bait in the trash.
The National Park Service would like to have all boats visiting Whiskeytown Lake certified “mussel-free” by the end of June 2008. Please contact Chief of Natural Resources, Barbara Alberti, at 530-242-3445 for questions or comments.