Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tough alien mussels threaten Bay Area waters

The appearance in Northern California of an alien mussel, which multiplies so fast it chokes out natives species, clogs pipes and causes havoc, prompted the East Bay Municipal Utility District Thursday to ban some recreational boating in its reservoirs.

The restrictions, which will begin in February, are the first in what is expected to be a widespread campaign to stop the tiny monster cousins known as the quagga and zebra mussels from ravaging Northern California reservoirs as they have the Great Lakes.

Native to Eastern Europe, the mussels are believed to have spread on the hulls of boats and ships and invaded the Great Lakes as well as Lake Mead on the Colorado River. The feverish mollusks were found recently in San Diego, Riverside and San Benito counties.

Bay Area water district managers got a jolt two weeks ago when zebra mussels were discovered in the San Justo Reservoir, a dam near Hollister that serves growers and residents in San Benito County.

Click on Title link to view entire article. Thanks to Jane Dauufenbach of Aquarius Systems for the submission.

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