There is a growing concern within the fisheries division of the Arizona Game and Fish Departmentbout the spread of an invasive mollusk called a quagga mussel.
This small shellfish which is native to Eastern Europe found its way to the United States by the way of the ballast tanks of huge ocean-going ships and eventually ended up in the Great Lakes area.
Much to the surprise of biologists, this nuisance mollusk was found in Lake Mead this past year.
No doubt, it was an aquatic hitchhiker from a pleasure boat that was transported from the Midwest to the reservoir on the Colorado River.
With the water currents, it was soon found in Lake Havasu where it is thriving, to the dismay of recreational lake enthusiasts.
With the advent of the CAP canals, which bring water to the Phoenix area from the Colorado River, the invasive quagga mussel is now in Lake Pleasant.
Game and Fish biologists are concernedhis molluskould upset the fragile ecological balance of these lakes and could spread to the Salt River chain of lakes.
The quagga musselood source is phytoplankton which would put it in direct competition with the newly hatched frye of the valuable game fish in these lakes.
These mollusks also attach themselves to pipes and other concrete structures which can cause extensive damage to water supply lines and hydroelectric plants as has been the case in the Great Lakes. This is now a growing concern in Arizona.
These aquatic hitchhikers can be transported on the hulls of boats and in livewellshat have not been pumped dry.It would be a wise investment from the ecological point of view to wipe your boat down with a clean cloth after every use and make sure the water is drained from the livewell and lower unit of your engine.
If you are a fishermen and plan on visiting Lake Pleasant for recreational angling or a tournament, it would be amart move to power wash the hull of your boat at a car wash on the way home.
The obvious goal is to keep the quagga mussel from entering the Salt River Lakes. With Roosevelt Lake having such a bright future as possibly one of the best bass fisheries in the West, we need to protect this water from the invasive quagga mussel.
A few precautions on our part will go a longay for the future of Roosevelt Lake, only 40 minutes away.
This weekend take a friend fishing and enjoy the Arizona outdoors, God's creation.