Quagga Mussel Intercepted on Sailboat Hull

By Beacon Staff

An exotic quagga mussel adult was found on a sailboat hull during an inspection conducted at the Dayton Yacht harbor near Flathead Lake on Saturday, March 5. FWP’s Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator John Wachsmuth and volunteer Erik Hanson, a certified mussel inspector, found the single, ¼-inch long adult quagga mussel attached to the stern of the hull. The mussel appeared to be intact and alive.

The sailboat owner had hauled the boat from Lake Mead. It had been decontaminated at Lake Mead and inspected by the Idaho Department of Transportation. Montana officials were notified by the Columbia River Basin Network inspectors on Friday, March 4 that the decontamination procedure might not have been adequate. Wachsmuth arranged for a local inspection and coordinated further decontamination efforts. The boat is now in dry dock, and will not be launched for at least two months.

This potential threat of introducing exotic mussels to Flathead Lake was averted thanks to good coordination and communication among AIS workers in Idaho and Montana. The incident illustrates the danger of exotic mussel introductions due to boats being transferred from water to water.

Wachsmuth urges boaters who are hauling boats of any kind into Montana to be sure that the boats have been decontaminated and inspected by a state agency involved in AIS prevention. He added that boat owners should make sure that the hull and bilge area are clean and dry, and the boat is inspected before the boat is transported. Boaters who are hauling boats from known infested waters such as Lake Mead should contact FWP at 444-2449, and arrangements with a local inspector will be made.

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