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California Fish and Game Seek Out Invasive Mussel

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The California State Department of Fish and Game is working to help prevent the spread of an invasive mussel that can damage entire ecosystems. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports. 

Along I-5 in Tehama County, California Game Warden Duane Little and his crew are pulling over any vehicle carrying a watercraft, from inner-tubes to luxury yachts. Then they have specially trained mussel sniffing dogs inspect the boats for tiny zebra and Quagga mussels. 

Little:  "They have different modes of alerting. Some will sit, some will bark, some will paw. And then we do a closer inspection and we have the biologist look for the Quagga mussel in those areas."

So far they haven't found any that far north. But Little says in Southern California, especially San Diego County, the mussels are already a problem, and he says they can do major damage. 

Little:  "They will get into irrigation and water delivery systems and clog up the intakes; dams and so forth, the hydraulic aspects of it.  They will clog up the intakes of those."  

Little says boaters can help prevent the spread by cleaning, draining and drying their watercraft after using it.

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