Invaders Mussel Out Lake Food Supply
By Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com
All boats and other craft going out on Castaic Lake are subject to mandatory inspection – and are in fact being inspected before they hit the water.
California Fish and Game officials are keeping a wary eye out for one particular type of contraband: mussels.
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Since 2007, when they were discovered on Lake Mead in Nevada, zebra mussels and their relatives, the quagga mussel (on a flip flop, pictured left, and a boat propeller, below), have traveled through the Colorado River system to San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino, Orange and Imperial counties.
That's bad. The invasive, nonnative species from Europe literally suck the life out of California's rivers and lakes by depleting the plankton supply, altering the food web. The mussels have also been linked to botulism outbreaks in wild birds, state officials say.
Those same officials want to make sure the nasty creatures don't worm their way into Los Angeles County's waterways, so they're inspecting all vessels to make sure they didn't unwittingly pick up any little hitchhikers while navigating infected waters.
Fish and Game officials are checking all boats and non-motorized watercraft, which must be 100 percent dry before they'll be allowed to launch.
Officials warn: “Do not run water through your engine/motor before coming to the lake. If it is not 100 percent dry, your boat will fail the inspection and not be allowed to launch for 7 days.”