Invasive quagga mussels were found by Oregon wildlife officials at a boat inspection station in Ashland last week.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the mussels were found Thursday on a pontoon boat that was being transported from Lake Mead, Nev. The boat was decontaminated.
Quagga mussels are destroying environments and infrastructure in The Great Lakes, Lake Powell and the Colorado River where they’ve gotten established. The larval form of quagga mussels are the size of a grain of sand and easily missed by a casual observer.
“Quagga mussels can cause serious damage to Oregon’s lakes, streams, irrigation and water delivery systems,” said ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator Rick Boatner said in a statement. “We want watercraft owners to be responsible and have their vessel inspected when entering Oregon.”
ODFW said it has not detected the presence of quagga mussels in Oregon’s waterways, but in 2023 crews decontaminated nine watercraft for quagga or zebra mussels and 327 watercraft for other types of aquatic biofouling such as Eurasian Watermilfoil.
All vehicles towing or carrying watercraft into Oregon must stop at any watercraft inspection station that is open to inspect for aquatic invasive species. That means all watercraft, regardless of size — canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, inflatable rafts or rigid fiberglass or aluminum boats — must stop and be inspected.
Stations are open if large, orange “Boat Inspection Ahead,” signs are posted, followed by “Inspection Required for All Watercraft.” Inspection stations are located at:
- Ashland: I-5 at the Ashland Port of Entry. Open daily, year-round, during daylight hours.
- Ontario: I-84 at the Ontario Rest Area. Open daily, year-round, during daylight hours.
- Seasonal Inspection station located in Brookings, Klamath Falls, Lakeview, and Umatilla will be opening the first week of May.
Anyone who finds quagga mussels on a vessel, is asked to report them to the Oregon Invasive Species hotline by calling 1-866-INVADER or visiting https://oregoninvasiveshotline.org.