Aquatic Species includes both aquatic plant & aquatic animal species. Invasive aquatic plants are introduced plants that have adapted to living in, on, or next to water, & that can grow either submerged or partially submerged in water. Invasive aquatic animals require a watery habitat, but do not necessarily have to live entirely in water.
Zebra & Quagga mussels are two closely related mussel species that originated in Eastern Europe & were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s. Zebra & Quagga mussels are an invasive non-native species that breed very fast, have no known predators, & can quickly colonize new areas. Once they infect a water body, they cover piers, boat launches, & water intake facilities. There is no effective eradication method, & the cost to manually remove these mussels from water intake screens & pipes is millions of dollars per year. Zebra & Quagga mussels have caused extensive economic & ecological damage since arriving in the Great Lakes, & is rapidly spreading throughout North America; 1st to many eastern waterways, rivers, & lakes & more recently to several western states.
The environmental, economic, & social/human health impacts of (zebra/quagga) mussel infestations can be catastrophic. Zebra/Quagga mussels are nonnative ecosystem changers that are drastically altering aquatic communities in the Great Lakes & other watersheds. Potential human health risks include the contamination of municipal water supplies, increased occurrences of blue-green & other toxic algae blooms, & the concentration of contaminated sediments which can then be dispersed into the food chain. They are freshwater bio-foulers that can quickly reduce or stop flows in hydroelectric & water supply systems, plug water cooling systems in watercraft motors, % create physical hazards to fish and humans.
Both Zebra & Quagga mussels are easily transported on boats & trailers because they can live out of water for up to a month. Due to this, the boat owner/agent, must ensure the boat is clean inside & out of all plants, animals, mud & debris prior to shipment. In addition, all water must have been drained from wells, bilges, ballasts, thru-hull fittings & engine cooling systems & allowed sufficient time for the boat to completely dry (typically at least a week). This cleaning, draining & drying of your boat must be done prior to loading the boat for transport.
Federal & State Aquatic Invasive Species laws make it unlawful to possess or transport across state lines Dreissenid (Zebra & Quagga) Mussels &/or other aquatic invasive species. 43 States have AIS plans approved by the Federal Government (remaining states have plans under development) to control the spread of aquatic invasive species. These programs, generally referred to as watercraft inspection programs, are intended to prevent the spread of AIS through the inspection & decontamination of watercraft & equipment. Boats found with evidence of the mussels may be impounded or quarantined & boat owners may face fines in some states.
Western states, (Including WA, OR, ID, MT, UT, CA, NV, AZ, CO, KS, NE, NM, SD, ND, OK, TX, WY, AK, & BC(Canada) have active monitoring, detection & decontamination programs to prevent & control the spread of aquatic invasive species such as Quagga & Zebra mussels. Many of the western states also have watercraft stations in place which require all boats to be stopped & inspected at entry into the state.
Due to the severity of this problem, Carthage Marine Transport is taking an active role by requiring all used boats to be cleaned & the owner/agent for the used boat to certify adequate cleaning & drying has taken place prior to our picking up the boat. Steps required for transport include that the boats hull, thru hull fittings, prop, shaft, trim tabs, keel, anchors, rudder & any other underwater items have been power washed with hot water exceeding 140 degrees. In addition, the engine cooling systems & water systems have been drained & have been washed with hot water exceeding 140 degrees. The bilge & all other systems containing water have been cleaned with hot water exceeding 140 degrees, drained & are dry & that the boat has been out of the water for at least seven (7) days prior to loading.
For more comprehensive information pertaining to cleaning your boat for safe shipment, go to “A GUIDE TO CLEANING BOATS” , that was compiled specifically for boat owners & watercraft users. The information contains general guidelines for all boaters & a basic checklist for inspecting & cleaning boats & recreational equipment for Quagga/Zebra mussels. There are also additional inspection & cleaning checklists for specific types of boats and equipment.
A part of CMT’s used boat shipping contract is that the CMT "AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES ACTION CERTIFICATE FOR USED BOATS" be completed & accompany the boat during transport.
Click on this link for an ANIMATED ANNUAL DISTRIBUTION MAP showing the rapid spread of Zebra & Quagga mussels in the United States.
Websites and letters containing additional information concerning the AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM.