Arizona Continues To Fight Mussel Invasion

By  Stina Sieg
November 20, 2013

(Photo courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department)
Quagga mussels surround a pipe.

Clean, drain, dry.

That is the law, and the mantra Game and Fish is trying to instill in boaters who visit quagga-invested waters, and starting Jan. 1, 2014, citations will be issued in spots like Lakes Mead, Havasu, Mohave and Pleasant.

Quagga mussels are tiny, but they are a big threat to lakes and rivers across Arizona.

Game and Fish spokesman Bill Andres said quaggas can grow to the size of a dime or quarter but can be microscopic when young.  

“They multiply quickly,” Andres said. “They grow into large colonies and attach to structures inside the lake. Water pipes, marina infrastructure, boats and marker buoys, pretty much anything.”

Andres said quaggas not only steal nutrients from other native species but clog waterways. They have no natural predators.

Quaggas have become such a concern that Salt River Project is looking for evidence of them during its annual winter canal dry up. Quaggas were discovered in the public utility’s canals for the first time this summer. They were first seen in Arizona in 2007. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been modified to reflect the law is already in effect, but citations will be issued starting Jan. 1.

Updated 11/21/2013 at 12:48 p.m.