Sunday, August 23, 2009

Invasives Pose a Major Threat to NW Watersheds

The newest in a long line of invasive species threatening watersheds in the Northwest is the Quagga Mussel. The tiny filter feeding mollusks originally made their way to North America through ballast water from Europe, they are capable of spreading extremely fast when introduced and may dramatically alter aquatic communities which support juvenile salmon. The mussels have already been found in a number of Western States, but have yet to invade the Columbia Basin. Recognizing the magnitude of the threat these invasive species pose, many local government officials and agencies are asking the federal and state governments for financial support to prevent and combat the invasives. More information at the Columbia Basin Bulletin

Quagga Mussels are far from the only invasive organisms threatening our waterways. New Zealand Mudsnails have been found in many Western states and can spread readily on wading boots and boating equipment. European Millfoil another highly invasive plant which can choke waterways quickly is also easily spread by anglers and boaters. It is critical that we take the individual responsibility to prevent the spread of harmful exotics. A simple and cost effective way is to keep a bucket, scrub brush and some bleach in your vehicle. Scrubbing your equipent in a cup of bleach in a bucketful of water will remove any potential invaders.

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