If you travel from one northwest state to another, you’ll notice a boat inspection stop at the border. This is an effort to prevent invasive species, specifically the zebra mussel from moving across the region, infecting water systems. Lloyd Knight with the Idaho state Department of Agriculture says zebra mussels can have a huge economic impact on the water system.
“If [infected] water gets into surface water diversion systems, which we have a lot of in the state of Idaho as well as through the rest of the Columbia River Basin, just dealing with that in those systems presents a significant amount of not just costs, but can really have an impact on the efficiency and the workability of those systems and their ability to deliver water for a variety of users including agriculture.”
Knight added there’s not only the economic impact, but zebra mussels can impact efforts to help a variety of endangered species located in Northwest waters. He says it’s not just watercraft that can transport invasive mussels. He said they’ve recently learned of anther mode of transport, that can be a little more challenging to monitor.
“Movement of aquarium plants, moss balls in this particular instance, that were also carrying zebra mussels. Sometimes those muscles were dead, and you found just shells, but we did find some live ones as well. And obviously that presents a challenge when we know that here’s another conveyance another way for these things to get out into the systems if they are not handled properly.”
The new recommendation when it comes to these aquariums, is “Destroy! Don’t Dump!”
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