Invasive mussel prevention efforts in Washington
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is the lead state agency for prevention and management of aquatic invasive species including quagga mussels. We stand ready to assist Idaho’s incident management team if assistance is requested.
The WDFW Fish Program Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Unit conducts widespread monitoring annually each spring through fall. In 2022, WDFW monitored 306 sites at 124 waterbodies. 2022 sampling found no invasive quagga or zebra mussels in Washington’s waters including in the Snake River. Preliminary results from 2023 confirm no presence. In response to the Idaho detection, WDFW is redirecting staff from statewide monitoring to the Snake River for additional monitoring.
If detected, we have the needed expertise, equipment, and have recently practiced a first-of-its-kind on-the-ground quagga and zebra mussel response exercise. While there is reason for concern for potential spread into our state’s waters, WDFW and Washington are well positioned to take quick action if needed.
More information is available in the Washington Dreissenid Mussel Rapid Response Plan (2017 version).
Washington currently has a robust multi-agency effort monitoring for invasive quagga and zebra mussels in our state’s waters, coordinated by WDFW, Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC), and other state and federal agencies, tribes, and partners.
WDFW operates mandatory watercraft inspection stations in Spokane, Clarkston, Pasco, and Cle Elum under the direction of Capt. Eric Anderson, including a trained detection dog, Fin, and enforcement of AIS permits for watercraft registered outside our state.
Statewide, in 2022, WDFW inspected 51,877 watercraft and intercepted 19 invasive mussel-fouled watercraft. The Clarkston inspection station is positioned to support protection for Washington’s portion of the Snake River. Already in 2023, 1,265 watercraft have been inspected at this southeast Washington station including 1 vessel fouled with invasive mussels. In response to the Idaho quagga mussel detection, WDFW will be ramping up roving watercraft inspection stations in the area.
We have also worked with WISC, U.S. Department of the Interior, public utility districts, and other partners to install Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose (CD3) units at boat launches and marinas around the Columbia Basin, as well as disseminated regular communications on these topics.
We will share additional information as it becomes available. Learn more at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/invasive/prevention. Please share our blog post widely: https://wdfw.medium.com/invasive-quagga-mussels-detected-in-idaho-monitoring-and-prevention-efforts-ramp-up-in-washington-5913c555dccb.