Feds to Release Quagga Infestation Test Results

By: Kyril (Ky) Plaskon Email
By: Kyril (Ky) Plaskon Email

Earlier this year there was a preliminary discovery of quagga mussels in the Lahontan and Rye Patch Reservoirs, prompting the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to investigate. Today at 10 a.m. they are releasing the results of the most northern body of water in Nevada to be infested to date.

"We don't want to steal their thunder," said Teresa Moiola of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The official results will be released at 10 at the Department headquarters at 1100 Valley Road by the federal agency. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will also be there to talk about the slow march of the Quagga toward Nevada's most famous lake.

Also at the conference there will be large growths of the quagga on display from southern Nevada. It will put a face to the name so to speak, show how damaging the fast-growing Quagga can be to boats, but also plants, animals, sport fisheries and leading to millions of dollars in economic damage.

We will bring you the details of the meeting at 11 on Midday on KOLO-TV.

Moiola said that it isn't clear yet if the Quagga can grow to adulthood in northern Nevada waters. The problem for the Quagga is the low level of calcium in the water that may stunt its growth.

Federal and local authorities are trying to enact new regulations as fast as the Quagga is spreading. Here in Nevada, the invasive species act will help the state fight the spread. But that doesn't go into place until January. In other places, law-makers are facing challenges to new laws.

Just today A federal court has rejected a shipping industry challenge to a government permitting system designed to prevent the spread of invasive species in U.S. waters. The permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency regulates discharges of ballast water and other substances such as bilge water from vessels.

Many species that have invaded and disrupted ecosystems and cost billions of dollars in the Great Lakes and elsewhere in recent decades arrived from other countries in ballast water. Among them are zebra and quagga (KWAH'-guh) mussels.

The EPA permit sets rules for ship discharges and lets state governments add provisions to protect their own waters. Shipping groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to throw out the additional state requirements.

In a ruling Friday, the court refused.

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