Western governors want federal help in invasive mussel fight

Quagga mussels collected in New York. Western governors are seeking help in combatting them.

Photo courtesy of NOAA’s Mussel Watch program/WikimediaCommons

Quagga mussels collected in New York. Western governors are seeking help in combatting them.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Governors of 19 Western states are pressing the federal government to do more to prevent the spread of damage-causing invasive mussels from infected federally managed waterways.

The Western Governors’ Association sent a letter urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to put in place by spring 2018 controls to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels.

The governors are also asking that federal agencies conduct mandatory inspections and decontamination of boats leaving infected water bodies. The mussels can attach to boats and trailers and travel long distances, clogging water pipes, damaging boat motors and affecting other aquatic life.

“Given the significant risks that quagga and zebra mussels pose to uninfested waterbodies, it is critical to implement effective control policies in a timely manner,” the letter states.

The governors say they’re particularly concerned about the mussels reaching the Columbia River Basin, Lake Tahoe, and the Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell.