[OSMB-News] OSMB News: Boaters Asked to "Never Launch A Dirty Boat"
Ashley.Massey at state.or.us
Wed May 9 10:36:58 PDT 2007
For Immediate Release Date: May 9, 2007
Boaters Asked to 'Never Launch a Dirty Boat'
Having a dangerous invasive species - one that likes to hitch a ride on
trailer boats - just across Oregon's southeastern border is more than
a cause for concern. "It's a call to action," says Randy Henry,
policy and planning analyst for the Oregon State Marine Board. "We
desperately need boaters to take this problem seriously, or we'll be
living with some very expensive and damaging consequences."
This particular, unwanted aquatic invasive species is a quagga mussel,
a native of the Caspian Sea but now found in Nevada, Arizona and
California in the reservoirs and canals of the Colorado River. Quagga
mussels, and their close relative the zebra mussel, have cost the public
billions of dollars and damaged vast ecosystems across the Midwest and
"Boaters are the key to successfully halting the spread of quagga
mussels," says Henry. "We have to understand that our boats provide
the ride for aquatic hitchhikers. One boat launched in a lake or river
with an invasive aquatic species aboard could devastate a water body by
degrading water quality and destroying the fishery. We saw this at
Diamond Lake in the Cascades when tui chub were illegally introduced.
Years of planning and drastic measures were required to restore the lake
to health. State and federal agencies spent nearly six million dollars
on the project and the healing process will take several years."
According to Jim Gores, invasive species coordinator for the Oregon
Department of Fish and Wildlife, commercial ships first transported
quagga and zebra mussels to the Great Lakes in the early 1990s in ship
ballast water. The mussels are spreading across the US, often with the
help of recreational watercraft. "We thought zebra mussels would be
the big concern in Oregon, but then divers found quagga mussels in Lake
Mead in January," says Gores. "They're both a problem because they
colonize fresh water in dense mats, smothering native plants and
animals, filtering out the food and altering the ecosystem. One dirty
boat and our efforts to recover salmon and steelhead populations could
be even more complicated than before, and at a cost of hundreds of
millions of dollars. That's a direct impact that most boaters will
All boaters must make sure they don't launch a boat that's been
exposed to any infested waters - at least not before sterilizing the
watercraft. "We're still waiting for results, but it's possible
that a number of lakes and reservoirs across Nevada were inoculated with
quagga mussels in 2006," says Henry. "We know that many people fish
in Nevada and Oregon waters in the same season, so the potential is
there." Henry and Gores, who routinely work together on aquatic
invasive prevention issues, offer simple advice for people who have
boated in waters infested by any type of invasive aquatic plant or
animal, especially zebra or quagga mussels.
* Keep a clean boat: After boating in any waterbody - especially
in Nevada, Arizona, Utah or any state east of the Rocky Mountains, clean
your boat and gear thoroughly.
* All equipment such as dive gear, boats, trailers and motors
should be visually and tactilely (by feel) inspected for the presence of
mussels prior to and after use in any water body. Additionally, any
vegetation attached to this equipment must be removed and left at the
site of origin or discarded in a waste can.
* Drain and flush your bilge, live well, bait buckets and any
other compartments that hold standing water. If you recently boated in
infested waters, flush areas of standing water with hot water (140° F)
or a solution of 1 cup bleach to a gallon of water. Do this away from
any waterbody or slope above a waterbody.
* Clean and scrub boat hulls, motors, anchors and trailers, then
hose equipment with hot (140° F) and/or high-pressure water.
* After a thorough washing, all boat equipment should be allowed
to remain completely dry for at least 24 hours before being used again.
If a thorough washing isn't available, clean as best you can and allow
boat to air dry for at least five days with all compartments open.
Mussels can live in a dark, damp compartment for up to 27 days. In
addition to quagga or zebra mussels, keeping your boat clean will
prevent the spread of numerous other invasive species, such as hydrilla,
milfoil, New Zealand mud snails and others. "Of course, it is illegal
to transport live fish - for bait or any other purpose - from one
waterbody to another," warns Henry. "Many of Oregon's most famous
fishing waters suffer from aquatic invasive species. Just dumping one
bait bucket can destroy a fishery, create tremendous health and
environmental problems, and cost millions of dollars to treat or even
In a nutshell, says Henry, "Never launch a dirty boat. It's really
Did you boat in Nevada or Arizona in 2006?
The Oregon State Marine Board has a simple question for Oregon boaters:
Did you run your boat in Nevada, Arizona or east of the Rocky Mountains
in the past 12 months?
"This is something we'd like to know for statistical purposes,"
said Randy Henry, Policy Planning Analyst for the Oregon State Marine
Board. "With the advent of quagga mussels in Lake Mead and other
waters of Nevada and Arizona, we would like to gauge the potential
exposure to Oregon's waters."
Henry says the Marine Board surveys boaters every three years for
statewide boat use information, but doesn't check out-of-state use.
"We have no idea what kind of risk we really face here," says
Henry. "Do people boat in Wildhorse Reservoir in Nevada one day and
then pop across the border to fish Oregon? This information would help
us with our education and outreach as we attempt to prevent infestations
of aquatic nuisance species."
An anonymous survey form is available on line at www.boatoregon.com/ans
for people willing to participate. "We will not tie this information
to individual boaters," said Henry. "It's just information we
don't have that would be very useful for planning purposes."
Ashley A. Massey
Public Affairs Specialist
Oregon State Marine Board
503-378-8587 ext. 82623
ashley.massey at state.or.us
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