A letter in support of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ rapid response plan for invasive mussels got a thumbs up from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
An invasion of quagga and zebra mussels is being held off at the borders of Northwest states through the efforts of invasive species inspection stations, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District is preparing for the worst.
In a state that lies in the upper headwaters of the Columbia River basin and considers itself guardians in keeping zebra and quagga mussels out of the basin, Montana says that more can be done and calls on the Bonneville Power Administration to help fund permanent watercraft inspection stations.
Nearly 18,000 river kilometers (11,185 miles) of Columbia River basin streams currently has suitable habitat for an invasive predatory fish that, as climate warms, is a range that is predicted to increase by 10,000 river miles by 2080, according to a recent study.
Beginning in 2022, fish farms will no longer be allowed to raise non-native fish in Washington’s waters. Until then, updated permits from the Washington Department of Ecology require Atlantic salmon farms to step up their monitoring, inspections and reporting, and to have emergency response plans, the agency said Thursday.
The Western Governors Association at its annual meeting last week approved a resolution calling for the creation of a new Western Invasive Species Council; new mechanisms to enhance regional invasive species research, planning and coordination; and recommendations to Congress and federal agencies on improving invasive species management on federal lands and supporting state-led management efforts.
Economists tasked with quantifying the costs of suppressing invasive northern pike in Lake Roosevelt as well as the costs to the region if the pike escaped Grand Coulee Dam and migrated downstream, risking recovery of the Columbia River basin’s threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead, indicated at a Northwest Power and Conservation Council meeting this week that available data is too sparse to adequately answer the questions.
If invasive quagga and zebra mussels spread to the Columbia River Basin — the last major un-infested water system in the continental U.S. — the control costs in the basin alone could reach $500 million annually, says the Biosecurity and Invasive Species report released this week by the Western Governors’ Association.
The Western Governors Association is urging Congress and the Trump Administration to “support and empower state-led rapid response programs” to manage the risks of aquatic invasive species, including zebra and quagga mussels, rather than creating a new response system.