Northwest Wildlife Agencies Warn Of Newly Found Invasive Zebra Mussels
Washington state wildlife officials are working with pet store chains to stop the spread of aquarium products found to contain zebra mussels.
A zebra mussel is a tiny shellfish native to the Black and Caspian Seas in Ukraine. But they’re now found all over the world, except in the Northwest.
During a media briefing Friday, Washington state biologist Allen Pleus said they pose a huge potential economic danger to this region.
“The main thing is that they can grow into three-dimensional colonies that smother native species and they also can clog water supply intakes and hydropower facilities. So if this species became established in Washington waters, it would quickly cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year in mitigation costs and higher electricity and food prices,” Pleus said.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife department officials say they learned Tuesday that mussels were found in a Seattle-area Petco store. They were embedded in moss balls that are sold for aquariums. The little pests were also reported in pet stores in Oregon and Idaho.
Captain Eric Anderson from the agency’s policing staff says that kicked off what is now a nationwide effort to find where the moss balls were sold and then have them removed from store shelves. He’s also making a plea to aquarium owners to be careful when they clean their tanks, to make sure they’re not inadvertently releasing mussels or any other non-native nuisance into the environment.
Copyright 2021 Spokane Public Radio. To see more, visit spokanepublicradio.org
Biologists are catching as many northern pike as they can in Lake Roosevelt, the reservoir held back by the Grand Coulee Dam. CREDIT: Courtney Flatt Listen (Runtime 0:54) Read Right… Continue Reading Biologists prepare for possible northern pike invasion beyond Grand Coulee Dam
Red Swamp Crayfish have been discovered in the Lewiston Levee ponds, thanks to science students at Lewiston High School. (Credit: istockphoto) Listen (Runtime 00:59) Read Lewiston High School teacher Jamie… Continue Reading High school students discover invasive crayfish in Idaho
SummaryAs spring wakes up in Oregon and Washington, so do invasive Japanese beetles. Larvae living among the roots of neighborhood lawns become adults and get up to the surface –… Continue Reading Spring killing: Smaller-than-a-penny Japanese beetle looms large for Northwest agriculture