In a previous post I wrote about the dangerous invasion of zebra and quagga mussels (ZQM) in our rivers. These creatures are originally from the Black and Caspian Seas in Russia. They were first detected in the Great Lakes in North America in 1988. Colorado first saw them in 2008 in Lake Pueblo. They continue to be spread as “hitchhikers” both by leisure boats and other passive means – like anglers’ boots and waders.
So what else is being done? One of the most active organizations involved in the prevention of the spread of the ZQM is Protect Your Waters! Colorado and Wyoming, for example have initiated boat inspections to ensure that boaters are not transporting the creatures. Colorado has put out a brochure call Zap the Zebra.
I received a great comment on my website from fellow angler, Arik Skromme, who inspired me to post information about this difficult problem. Arik has a small business as a consulting biologist otherwise he might have become a fishing guide himself. He is also an amateur videographer. Here is a link to a video produced by Arik: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Arik also sent me a link to a scientific study done in CA that contains results on the effectiveness of different cleaning techniques used to avoid spreading invasive species. nrm.dfg.ca.gov/filehandler.
The down and dirty on this is to assume that your boat, clothing, wading stick, or even dog have the capacity to transport harmful organisms from one river to another and therefore must be cleaned and dried thoroughly before visiting other rivers.