Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout freshwater lakes and rivers of the western United States has become a high priority, especially on the lower Colorado River, which has a growing population of quagga mussels.
The Lake Havasu Marine Association, in cooperation with Arizona Game and Fish, developed and initiated a grassroots plan, “Sticker A Mussel,” to raise awareness and teach boaters how to prevent the contamination of other invasive species-free bodies of water.
The campaign, starting its sixth month, was chosen as one of seven proposals awarded funding by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for continuing the fight against quagga mussels.
“The program developed by the LHMA will serve to reduce the number of potentially contaminated boats from moving further into Arizona and California waters and from crossing state and tribal boundaries,” David Britton, assistant aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the Fish & Wildlife Service, said in a statement. “The LHMA is one of the first and select few non-government, non-profit entities to be awarded such a grant in the four-year history of this program.”
Jim Salscheider, the marine association’s president and CEO, said its mission is to teach boaters to use the proper protocol of “clean, drain and dry” every time they use their boat.
“This is the only way to effectively prevent moving invasive species from one body of water to another,” Salscheider said. “Our ‘Sticker A Mussel’ campaign is a visual reminder to boaters to follow those steps whenever they load their boat back onto the trailer. Because the sticker is placed on the tongue of the trailer in plain view it also has recognition value at California agricultural border inspection stations. Stickered trailers let inspectors know that boaters have a basic knowledge of the quagga mussel problem and the importance of maintaining a contamination-free boat and trailer.”
The $25,500 grant allows the association to aggressively pursue resources to promote and fully implement the campaign. More than 2,200 boats/trailers have been stickered, the group said.
The association is actively soliciting additional volunteers to assist the campaign. Information is available by contacting Salscheider at (928) 208-2442 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.