Don’t move a mussel

  • This boat, stopped at a Truckee, Calif., inspection station in 2002, looked clean from above, but below harbored a colony of zebra mussels


Whether you raft, kayak, fish or swim in Western waters, you can make sure quagga mussels — and other aquatic invasives — don’t travel with you. Here’s how.

Before leaving any body of water:

  • Inspect your boat, trailer, clothing and any other wet gear for plants, fish or animals, and remove them on site.
  • Wash off mud and dirt, which can carry tiny mussel larvae.
  • Clean people and equipment — and don’t forget the dog!
  • Eliminate all water from all equipment, including motors live wells, boat hulls, scuba regulators, bait buckets and boots.
  • Clean your equipment with salt water or hot water (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Dip gear that can’t be exposed to hot water in vinegar for 20 minutes, or soak it in a salt solution for 24 hours (see for recipes).
  • Don’t dump unused bait in the water.

Before launching into new waters, allow equipment to dry. Five days of drying is ideal.


This story is a sidebar to the feature:

Wish You Weren’t Here - Quagga mussels – an extraordinarily prolific and costly invasive species – have appeared in Lake Mead, and no one is sure how to keep these unwanted newcomers from infesting the West.

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