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Invasive Zebra Mussels Found During Voluntary Inspection

An invasive aquatic animal that has spread throughout the Great Lakes has shown up in Oregon – but on a boat, not in the water.

State officials say they found zebra mussels on a motorboat being towed into southern Oregon from California.

Officials say the owner of the boat submitted to a voluntary inspection.

Rick Boatner with Oregon Fish and Wildlife says the state needs tighter security to ensure zebra mussels don’t infest state waters.

Rick Boatner: “Volunteer stop is our weak link. Mandatory stop would be much better. Last year, in our first season of this, we had about a 27-percent compliance rate with public being willing to stop to get inspection. So that’s a huge segment that went by our check stations without inspection, so we don’t know if they had them or not. We can assume that they may have something.”

Boatner says he has fewer inspection teams than last year, too – down from five to one.

Boatner says Oregon’s neighbors of Idaho and Washington require inspections.