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Local group works to educate boaters and stop mussels

Feather Publishing

    Although relatively small, the impact of invasive quagga and zebra mussels could be substantial if they proliferate to the point of collapsing food chains and destroying water distribution systems.

    Since arriving from Europe in 1980, the mussels have made their way west and in 2008, were found in the San Justo Reservoir in San Benito County.

   Although not yet detected in Lake Almanor or other Northern California waters, members of the Almanor Basin Watershed Advisory Committee are launching a proactive outreach project so Lake Almanor remains mussel-free forever.

    Beginning Memorial Day weekend, members of ABWAC and its Invasive Mussel Subcommittee will greet Lake Almanor boaters at various boat launching areas to both inform them on the mussel risk, and collect basic information to better understand the risk to the lake.

    Information collected will include the point of origin for the boats and boaters, the level of awareness of mussels and the type of watercraft used.

    Mussel committee chairman Aaron Seandel said the Memorial Day weekend event is a “dry run” of the process that will be evaluated in time for the July 4 weekend. He estimates each survey will take under two minutes to complete.

    “We will be trying to find out who the people are who use the lake and what kind of risk they may present,” Seandel said.

    None of the information collected will be used to identify individual boat owners or their activities. All collected survey forms will be evaluated to assist ABWAC in developing a recommendation to the Plumas Board of Supervisors for development of a Lake Almanor prevention program.

    Members of the ABWAC Invasive Mussel Subcommittee include representatives of the Lake Almanor Fishing Association, PG&E and the U.S. Forest Service. The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment has facilitated ABWAC activities to provide stewardship of the Lake Almanor Basin and will be the lead coordinator for this effort. For more information, contact Emily Creely at 284-1022 or through e-mail at ecreely@sierrainstitute.us.



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