NID program looks to protect local reservoirs from invasive aquatic mussels

August 14, 2019

With boating season in high gear, efforts continue to protect local reservoirs from aquatic invasive species. Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is working to keep quagga and zebra mussels out of its reservoirs through boater education and a self-inspection program, as well as quarterly monitoring at Scotts Flat, Rollins and Combie reservoirs. No quagga or zebra mussels have been detected, according NID Hydrographer Ashley Vander Meer.

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive, and quickly colonize and consume the food supply for native species. This can cause a shift in the natural population of plants and fish in reservoirs and disrupt the ecology of the aquatic environment. In addition, the mussels attach to submerged surfaces and can clog water system infrastructure, threatening the water supply for homes, agricultural irrigation and power plant operations, such as those NID owns and operates.

Most times, quagga and zebra mussels are introduced to reservoirs through human-related activities – especially on boats. According to California law, knowingly transporting aquatic invasive species into any reservoir is illegal, and violators are subject to fines. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife Service requires all agencies that own or manage reservoirs open for public recreation to implement a detection and prevention program.

NID has developed a program, and sustains a public education and a boater self-inspection program at Rollins, Scotts Flat and Combie reservoirs. Boaters must inspect their motorized watercraft and trailers prior to launching and again when they pull their boats from the water.

“Clean, Drain, Dry” is the message. Boaters are requested to:
* Inspect your boat and trailer before you launch and leave
* Clean: All plants and debris off your boat
* Drain: Your motor and bilge water
* Dry: Your boat and trailer

“We are grateful to everyone who is making the effort to protect our local reservoirs from these invasive species, which could wreak havoc on our environment and create expensive damage to the water system if they took hold in our waterways,” said Neysa King, NID’s Environmental Resources Administrator.

To read more about the program, click here.