Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't Move a Mussel

Zebra and quagga mussels--non-native species that have spread rapidly in other states--are not in Idaho. Yet.

The above video gives a good overview of the problem, and what it could cost Idaho if these species were introduced to our state's waters.

Non-native mussels were unintentionally introduced into the Great Lakes in the 1980's. Since then, they have spread to many parts of the country, including California, Nevada and Utah.

If they become established in Idaho, the estimated cost of control is $91 million.

Of course, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In this case, the prevention came in the form of new legislation that requires a boat sticker for all boats in Idaho, to fund Idaho's mussel prevention program.

Since mussels aren't here yet, it may seem like they pose little threat. But just this summer, a citizen spotted a boat on the interstate in Idaho encrusted with invasive mussels. Fortunately, authorities were notified and the boat could be stopped before it entered the water.

The boat stickers will make it easier to prevent the introduction of mussels, protecing fish habitat, hydropower, agriculture and clean water. Watch the video to learn more. --Matt Miller

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