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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 31st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 43 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 43

Lake staffers report finding invasive mussels in Ventura County

BY SUN STAFF

If the mussels discovered in Ventura County’s Lake Piru on Dec. 18 are indeed Dreissenid mussels, also known as quagga or zebra mussels, the finding would constitute the first time the invasive mussels have been found in a Southern California water body that doesn’t receive water from the Colorado River.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with United Water Conservation District and Lake Piru Recreation Area staffers to contain the infestation, according to a press release. All boaters are being required to clean, drain, and dry their watercrafts when they exit the lake.

Lake Piru Recreation Area staffers first discovered the mussels attached to a patrol boat. Additional mussels were found on the shoreline and on devices in the lake specifically deployed for the purpose of detecting mussels.

Fish and Wildlife tentatively identified the mussels, and is awaiting the results of genetic testing to confirm the ID. Lake Piru staffers are working to figure out the full extent of the infestation.

Quagga and zebra mussels are freshwater mussels that are native to Eurasia. The press release said they multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, and compete for food with native and sport fish species. Mussels are spread from one water body to another by attaching themselves to nearly anything that has been in an infested water body.

Quagga mussels were first detected in the Colorado River system in 2007 and were later found in San Diego and Riverside counties. They are known to be in 26 water bodies in California. Zebra mussels were discovered in Justo Reservoir in San Benito County in 2008.