As much as we hate to admit it, once
again the folks in California are leading the rest of the country, and maybe the
world, when it comes to protecting against invasive species spreading to freshwater
locations. Ballast water dumped by ships is picked up by trailerable small crafts
which go from saltwater to freshwater, then hop around. As they travel, the organisms
in their bilge water and attached to their hull and running gear drop off and find
new homes. The zebra mussels have been a prime example of
this spreading eco-problem.
More and more, conservation authorities responsible for keeping lakes and streams
from contamination are requiring that trailerable boats visit “decontamination”
stations. Inspection and decontamination is now required on Lake Tahoe.
This may be the way to protect freshwater
locations all over the country from the spread of destructive invasive species.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Inspectors decontaminated six vessels
for invasive mussels over Memorial Day weekend and found three more cases that raised
alarm, a Tahoe Resource Conservation District (TRCD) spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Nicole Cartwright, a conservation planner for TRCD’s invasive species program, said
quagga mussel shells were found May 18 at the Tahoe Keys on a 30- to 35-foot Sea
Ray boat, purchased from Lake Pleasant, Ariz. That boat was decontaminated Tuesday
at the TRCD office near Emerald Bay.
Lake Powell decontamination station can handle
boats coming and going or just going. Hydro Engineering Inc's decontamination systems
have the “Hydropad” which collects the water, drains it off then pumps it to tanks
to be filtered and treated.
“This shows us that the inspection program is working and the inspectors are taking
their job seriously,” said Dennis Oliver, a spokesman with the Tahoe Regional Planning
Five other boats underwent a full- to-partial decontamination during the holiday
weekend, but did not have shells on their engines, hulls or other parts, Cartwright
“There were not physical mussels but they were from at-risk areas and had some kind
of standing water,” Cartwright said.
Lead watercraft inspector Jonelle Bright works
on decontaminating a boat of mussels in a quarantine area in South Lake Tahoe on
On Sunday, inspectors also found a 40-foot Chris-Craft and 32-foot Grand Banks at
Obexer’s Boat Company at Homewood with mussel shells. The shells were not quagga
or zebra mussels, and California Department of Fish and Game biologists are investigating
if they are a salt-water subspecies, said Warden Bob Pera.
Trailerable Hydroblaster. The company says that over 500 are in use in the Middle East.
“No matter what they are, these boats are going to have to be decontaminated,” Pera
said. “We know at least they don’t belong in Lake Tahoe so they are not going to
The vessels, which hailed from the Alemeda and Oakland areas in California, are
scheduled for decontamination Thursday and a final inspection Friday, Pera said.
The larger the boat, the bigger the bilge and
the more places for invasive species to hang out.
Another vessel was inspected at Ski Beach in Incline Village, and found to have
barnacles attached to it, but was not decontaminated, Cartwright said.
In January 2008, zebra mussels were found at San Justo Reservoir, about 250 miles
away from Lake Tahoe. Shortly after, the bi-state federal Tahoe Regional Planning
Agency enacted new polices requiring boat inspections.
Beginning in June boaters will have to pay for inspections on a sliding scale to
fund the program.
Quagga and Zebra Mussels
The Hydromat is a fully licensed and patented
technology that allows you to pull watercraft on top, wash, collect and contain
all wastewater. It sets up in minutes making you ready to wash at any remote location.
Quagga and zebra mussels multiply rapidly once introduced to a water source. They
can clog infrastructure, destroy boat engines and leave layers of sharp shells on
beaches. They have never been successfully removed from a large body of water.
They are not known to be present in Lake Tahoe.
These are the latest cases when inspectors have found invasive mussel on a vessel
attempting to enter Lake Tahoe. In August 2008 inspectors quarantined a 32-foot
cabin cruiser after discovering a quagga mussel shell on its engine.
Hydroblaster invasive species decontamination
systems are a complete package of equipment delivered with everything needed to
protect a body of water, according
to Hydro Engineering Inc. Washing, wastewater
capture and containment and wastewater recycling equipment is all included.
For more information about Hydro Engineering’s products go
to their marine website…