An observant worker at the Tahoe Keys Marina may have saved the lake from a quagga mussel infestation. Keil Carreau noticed the small bivalves on the bottom of a boat as he prepared to hoist it into the Lake. The discovery was a surprise to the vessel's owner, who had papers certifying the boat had been cleaned.
Officials and marina workers have been working together to educate boaters about keeping the quagga mussel out of Lake Tahoe. They are concerned because the mussel has no natural predators. If it gets into the lake, it will proliferate chasing out native inhabitants. It could potentially devestate the lake's ecosystem, even causing eventual damage to the area's economy. That's why government agencies are teaming up with local marinas to inspect vessels and educate boaters.
Carreau says this is the first time he'd actually seen the mussels attached to a boat, and is dissappointed the company responsible for cleaning it did such a poor job. He says it may be time to put cleaning stations in our area for added security.
In addition to the inspections authorites are asking boat owners to take extra precations when transfering boats between bodies of water. The recommend cleaning all areas the boat with hot soapy water, or a bleach solution. Since the mussels can't live without water, allowing your craft to sit completely dry for several days will kill any hangers-on that you can't see.
For more information on how you can protect your boat and the lake from invasive quagga mussels go to http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu/local/invasive/quagga.shtml