PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An invasive species of mussels was recently detected in a river at Twin Falls, Idaho – just 60 miles upstream from Oregon’s border.
On Sept. 18, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture found quagga mussels “free-floating” in the Snake River, though they “were not attached to any structures or watercraft.”
Officials say this is the first time the species of quagga mussel larvae, called veligers, have been detected in the Columbia River basin. So far, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has yet to detect the mussels in state waterways.
ODFW’s Rick Boatner, an invasive species wildlife integrity supervisor, said the department has worked to stop the spread of invasive species by decontaminating 10 watercraft for quagga and zebra mussels as well as 287 watercraft for other harmful species.
“It is very important that all watercraft entering Oregon be inspected for quagga or other invaders,” Boatner said.
According to ODFW, watercraft are considered any size or type of motorized or non-motorized boat, including kayaks, canoes, rafts or stand-up paddleboards.
The department encourages Oregonians to avoid spreading the invasive species by following the process of “Clean, Drain, Dry:”
Clean shoes, waders, life vests, boat hulls and engines, trailers and other equipment by removing all visible plants, algae, and mud. Use a stiff-bristled brush to clean equipment.
Drain any accumulated water from boats or gear–including water used in cleaning–back into the lake, stream, or other waterbody from which it came.
Let boats or gear fully dry before using again.
If you find quagga mussels, you can report them to the Oregon Invasive Species hotline at 1-866-INVADER or alert them via their website.
Should Oregon detect the mussels in its waterways, officials with ODFW say the department and other state agencies have “the expertise, equipment, and are positioned to take quick action if needed.”