Quagga Mussels

Quagga Mussels Invade Western Waters

June 18, 2008 12:18 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
An invasive species of mussel called the quagga is threatening the Colorado River, clinging to recreational boats and essential water supply equipment, and harming wildlife.

30-Second Summary

According to the New York Times, quagga mussels are colonizing the Colorado River. This situation has not received much attention, despite the serious threat the mussels pose to river ecology, recreational boats, and essential hydroelectric and water supply equipment.

The quagga have been on scientists’ radar since 1998, when the 100th Meridian Initiative addressed the potential spread of the mussels to the Western states.

Quagga mussels have already invaded the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, displacing much of the zebra mussel population. Quagga, which strip water of nutrients and microorganisms, are thought to have reached the Colorado by attaching themselves to recreational boats.

“This is one bad hombre,” said Dr. Gary L. Fahnenstiel, senior ecologist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In California and Oregon, authorities are taking steps to prevent quagga mussels from further damaging bodies of water. For example, in San Francisco, quagga-sniffing dogs have been enlisted.

Additionally, a new weapon in the quagga fight has emerged. In early June 2008, the National Science Foundation pledged half a million dollars toward technology that enlists natural bacterium called Pseudomonas fluorescens, deadly to mussels, but extremely safe and eco-friendly.

Headline Links: Quagga a serious threat

Background: The 100th Meridian Initiative

Related Topic: Controlling quagga

Reference: Up close with quagga


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