Boaters asked to inspect their vessels for aquatic hitchhikers
The quagga mussel invasion in Arizona has now advanced from the Colorado River lakes to the state’s interior, and wildlife officials are seeking the public’s help to fight this advancing menace.
A single adult quagga mussel measuring 15 mm in diameter was found in the Central Arizona Project aqueduct in north Scottsdale. It was discovered on a concrete tile sampling device placed in the aqueduct to monitor aquatic insects. The mussel was found at approximately mile post 179, just east of the Loop 101 bridge over the aqueduct in north Scottsdale.
“Finding just one mussel may not seem like much,” said Larry Riley, a fisheries biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “But that single quagga is probably the tip of the iceberg – where there is one, there are bound to be others.”
Riley pointed out that a single quagga mussel can produce 30,000 to 40,000 fertilized eggs in a single breeding cycle, and one adult female quagga can release up to a million eggs in a single year. It is clear that these larvae, or very young quagga mussels, flow toward central Arizona with water from the Colorado River. That puts them in direct proximity to central Arizona reservoirs.
Game and Fish Department officials are once again pleading with all boaters and anglers throughout the state to help fight the continuing spread of these and other invaders by routinely taking simple precautionary steps.
Riley added that the presence of other invasive species, such as golden algae, means all boaters and other water recreationists should take simple, precautionary steps – every time they go to a lake.
Before leaving a lake or other waterway, always:
* CLEAN the hull of your boat.
* DRAIN the water from the boat, livewell and the lower unit.
* DRY the boat, fishing gear, and equipment.
* INSPECT all exposed surfaces.
* REMOVE all plant and animal material.
After you leave a lake or other body of water, please wait five days before launching your boat someplace else. This five-day-waiting period will aid tremendously in killing those hidden hitchhikers on your boat, such as the microscopic quagga larvae.
Also, it is a good idea to wash the hull of your boat with high-pressure water, either at the lake, if washers are available, or after leaving the waterway.
Visiting a self-help car wash that has high-pressure soapy water is an excellent idea either on your way home, or while on the way to the next lake – it can even help keep your boat looking new. Or, giving your boat a hot soapy bath when you get home can also help protect your investment and while also helping protect the next lake you visit.
Remember, many of these aquatic hitchhikers can harm your boat as well. These invaders will attach themselves to boats and can cause damage to boat motors if they block the flow of cooling water through the engine.
However, quagga mussels do not pose a known threat to human health. Biologists are concerned that quagga mussels may cause ecological shifts in the lakes they invade, with consequences to valued wildlife resources.
Because these invasive mussels attach to hard surfaces like concrete and pipes, they will affect canals, aqueducts, water intakes and dams, resulting in increased maintenance costs for those facilities.
The quagga mussel invasion of the West was first detected in Lake Mead in January. Since then, quagga mussels have been confirmed in Mohave and Havasu. Quagga mussels are also suspected in Lake Powell and have been found in at least one reservoir in Southern California that receives Colorado River water.
Officials from a broad spectrum of agencies are continuing to monitor for quagga mussels in the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, the Salt River Project canals, and in lakes around the state.
A physical inspection of discharge lines at Bouse Hills, Little Harquahala, and Hassayampa pumping plants showed no evidence of adult quagga mussels. These are the three pumping plants west of Phoenix.
Jackrabbit Siphon, about 45 miles west of Phoenix, was dewatered for repairs, and a physical inspection of the interior of the siphon did not show any evidence of adult mussels.
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