Thursday January 11, 2024

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon officials have discovered invasive quagga mussels on a pontoon boat that was transported to the state from Nevada, marking the first such finding of the year.

An official from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife told the Capital Chronicle the owner purchased the boat at Lake Mead, which is infested with quagga mussels. Rick Boatner, an invasive species expert, said the owner had the boat decontaminated at Lake Mead but that they “didn’t do a very good job” of cleaning it.

Oregon officials in Ashland, where the boat was inspected, found dead and live specimens. The latter is particularly worrying because each mussel can reproduce millions of others, Boatner said.

Voracious feeders, the mussels consume food that juvenile fish including salmon need to survive. They also attach to pipes, clogging infrastructure used for drinking water, irrigation and hydropower. It can cost billions of dollars to keep these systems running once the mussels have taken hold, Boatner said.

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