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Invasive Species Alert for Labor Day Boaters

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Before you power up the boat this Labor Day weekend, state officials have some advice -- be sure to clean and drain the vessel before heading to the water.  As KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce explains, a tiny invasive shellfish has become a big problem.

Two destructive species of mussels can attach to boat trailers, cooling systems, boat hulls and steering equipment.

One species - the quaqqa mussel - was found in several San Diego county lakes and reservoirs last year.

The mussels have also been found in the aqueduct that delivers water to Southern California from the Colorado River.

The tiny shellfish can clog waterlines and hurt water quality.

Boaters are being asked to wash boat hulls, remove plants and drain all watercraft for five days before launching in different bodies of water.

Quagga mussels from the Ukraine were first found in the Colorado River system last year and later in Southern California.

Zebra mussels from Europe were found in a San Benito County reservoir in January.

Federal officials are worried the mussels could threaten endangered fish and limited water supplies in our region.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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