Jackson Hole, WY News

The Teton County Weed and Pest District is sounding the alarm over invasive mussels that have been found in neighboring states. Wyoming, meanwhile, is offering free training about invasive species boat inspections.

“Quagga mussel veligers (microscopic juvenile quagga mussels) are on the move and have been detected in Deer Creek Reservoir in north-central Utah,” Amy Collett, the district’s education supervisor, wrote in a press release. “Soon after, a single zebra mussel was found in South Dakota at a boat dock in Lewis and Clark Lake, and a quagga mussel was found in Angostura Reservoir in southwestern South Dakota. They are wandering uncomfortably close to our Wyoming borders,” she wrote.

The mussels may have arrived via a recreational boat from the infested waters of the Lower Colorado River system, she wrote. Wyoming is trying to stop any unwanted species through the Game and Fish Department’s “Drain, Clean, Dry” program.

Go to Bit.ly/1zAmc38 for information about free training about invasive species boat inspections. The course is for people who want to become certified to inspect their own watercraft for invasive species or for those with businesses related to boating to provide inspections to customers. The Jackson session is scheduled for June 3.

“The simple act of cleaning your gear, clothing, pets and shoes before and after visiting a location can help prevent the spread of invasives,” Erika Edmiston, Wyoming Weed and Pest Council Education Committee Chair said in the release. “National Invasive Species Awareness Week (February 22-28) is the perfect time to highlight the importance of invasive species prevention approaches and remind the public that each and every one of us can help keep Wyoming wonderful.”

Collett said there are real hazards associated with letting invasive creatures like those mussels into Wyoming’s ecosystems.

The creatures can damage infrastructure. Zebra and quagga mussels “attach to hard surfaces, clogging water intake structures such as municipal water systems, hydroelectric power, irrigation systems and even your boat’s cooling system,” Collett said.

“The increase in maintenance costs for water treatment and power generation facilities can easily reach into millions of dollars.”

Shorelines also won’t be much fun to be around due to the foul odor created when mussels die and decay. Moreover, the invasive species have sharp-edged shells that can cut skin, she said.

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