RENO, NV - The reservoir at South Fork State Recreation Area has tested positive for quagga mussel DNA, according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW).
Officials did confirm that no adult quagga mussels or veligers (larval stage quagga) were found in that waterway. While the reservoir is not considered infested at this time, NDOW and the Nevada Division of State Parks (NDSP) are implementing immediate strategies to limit any potential of quagga mussels spreading from South Fork to other locations.
“Waterways are not deemed ‘infested' until adult quagga mussels are found,” said Jon Sjöberg, Fisheries Division Administrator at NDOW. “But we absolutely cannot wait for that potential before deploying strategies to keep any possible infestation from spreading.”
Beginning now, all boats entering or exiting the South Fork State Recreation Area will be inspected by officials. NDOW is telling all boaters leaving South Fork to remove their plug, drain all water and dry their boat for at least five days before using that boat on another waterway. Otherwise, those boats can undergo commercial decontamination.
Mandatory inspection will continue through the boating season until the end of October.
“The detection of quagga mussel DNA in South Fork is directly attributable to watercraft,” said Sjöberg. “It's crucial that boaters take responsibility to help stop the spread by cleaning, draining and drying their boats and we're asking all watercraft users to assist us by taking these few simple precautions.”
NDOW regularly collects samples from South Fork for laboratory testing for the presence of quagga mussels. Analysis by an independent laboratory in Colorado revealed the presence of quagga DNA in four of five samples collected in early August.
Officials caution that the presence of quagga DNA does not necessarily indicate a quagga infestation.
“Quagga DNA can appear in water that has been exposed to dead quagga shells or other non-living quagga tissue,” said Sjöberg. “However, the multiple detections of DNA in a single sampling event and the drought conditions that have concentrated boating use at South Fork mandate that we immediately take steps to contain any risk to other waters in northern Nevada.”
NDOW will continue to sample South Fork weekly to monitor for quagga through the fall and resume sampling in the spring.