Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Eek! Zebra mussels found at Ashland checkpoint

Ecotrope | May 19, 2011 6:05 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:38 p.m.

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The Medford Mail reports a state boat inspection crew found the first non-native zebra mussels at a checkpoint near Ashland.

Zebra mussels are among the most feared invasive species for Oregon. Inspectors found a dozen of them on the motor of a 15-foot Boston Whaler boat that was headed to Washington from Arizona. The mussels were removed and kept for analysis, the paper reports, and the boat was washed down.

The mussels first invaded the Great Lakes and cleared up the water quite a bit, but they also stripped the lakes of algae that provides a vital service to the ecosystem at the bottom of the food chain.

The zebra and the related invasive quagga mussel have spread westward all the way to the Colorado River and Lake Mead. Oregon has been working to keep them out of the state through boat check stations like the one near Ashland.

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