Boaters Beware of Hitchhikers!

Invasive Mussels Equals Expensive Damageabs pipe with mussels

When zebra or quagga mussels invade our local waters, they clog power-plant and public-water intakes and pipes. Routine treatment is necessary and very expensive: this leads to increased utility bills. If you use water and electricity, then you do not want zebra/quagga mussels!

If spread, these mussels can:

  •  Encrust boat hulls, clog cooling systems, jam steering equipment
  • Alter aquatic ecosystems, resulting in fewer native species and sportfish
  • Litter beaches with sharp, foul smelling shells
  • Clog water distribution systems, resulting in higher utility bills

If your boat has been in infested waters, it could be carrying invasive mussels. These creatures usually spread to new habitats on boats trailered by the public or by commercial haulers. Zebra and quagga mussels attach to almost anything: boats, aquatic plants, bait buckets, and other aquatic recreational equipment. You could unintentionally transport microscopic mussel larvae in water in your live well or bilge. An adult female zebra mussel can release up to 1,000,000 eggs in a lifetime. Please take the precautions outlined in this brochure to reduce the chance that zebra or quagga mussels will spread to uninfested areas.

You can prevent the spread of quagga and zebra mussels using this checklist every time you exit a waterbody:

  • Inspect all watercraft and equipment
  • Clean any visible mud, plants, fish or animals from watercraft and equipment
  • Drain all water, including from lower outboard unit, ballast, live-well, buckets, etc.
  • Dry all areas
  • Dispose of debris and live bait in the trash


For more information visit California’s Department of Fish & Game Invasive Species website

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