A state boat inspector crew found non-native zebra mussels during a voluntary inspection near Ashland.
The 15-foot Boston Whaler was headed to Washington, but it was purchased in Michigan, where invasive zebra mussels have caused massive ecological changes by stripping life-supporting algae from the Great Lakes. These zebra (and the related quagga) mussels are among the most dangerous invaders in the state.
And they’re getting expensive: Congressional research places the cost of these fingernail-sized mollusks in the billions.
Legislation is being considered in Salem to make boat checks mandatory — they’re currently voluntary, and boaters can opt out — and to reduce fines for non-motorized water vehicles that don’t have an aquatic invasive species permit.
Are you boater, a river-lover or an eager angler who keeps an eye out for invasive species? Have you lived in a region ravaged by biological invaders? Do you feel threatened by zebra mussels?
- Steve Wells: Research assistant for Portland State University’s Center for Lakes and Reservoirs
- Lisa Debruyckere: Coordinator for the Oregon Invasive Species Council