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Department of Boating and Waterways Opens Grant Program to Stop Invasive Species Infestation

Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive species that clog water systems and push out native species; the grant program is for preventative measures.

SACRAMENTO一 On March 7, the California Division of Boating and Waterways announced the availability for grant funding under the Local Assistance Quagga and Zebra Mussel Infestation Prevention Grant Program.


The funding is available for recreational California reservoirs through April 15 and provides funding for preventative measures put in place to protect California’s waterways from quagga and zebra mussel infestations.


Quagga and zebra mussels are invasive aquatic species from eastern Europe and were first found in California in 2008.


The mussels breed quickly and in large numbers. They can clog water intake structures and accumulate on docks, buoys, boat hulls, anchors, and beaches, disrupting recreational use and creating expensive maintenance costs.


They also cause problems for native species by taking over areas and blocking out native mussel species.


They can outcompete native mussel species and other filter-feeding invertebrates. In the Great Lakes, the invasive species has been linked to a fatal neuromuscular illness in birds called avian botulism.


“Because of their filter feeding habit, it has been estimated that these mussels can bioaccumulate organic pollutants in their tissues by as much as 300,000 times when compared to concentrations in the water in which they are living,” said a post from the University of California, Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research. “Consequently, these pollutants can biomagnify as they are passed up the food chain when contaminated mussels are eaten by predators (e.g., fish and crayfish), who in turn are eaten by other organisms (e.g., recreational fishermen who eat contaminated fish).”


The spread of the mussels between fresh waterways likely occurs through the movement of recreational boats.


The mussels can survive for two to three days out of the water, and if boats are not adequately cleaned and dried, the boat can introduce the mussels to new environments.

The grant program is for California reservoirs that are open for public recreational activities and are not infested with quagga and zebra mussels; early-detection monitoring data collected between March 2020 and the date of application is required.


“Reservoirs within California. Defined under California Water Code, Division 3, Part I, Chapter I, Section 6004.5, a “reservoir” is referred to as “any reservoir which contains or will contain the water impounded by a dam,” said Adeline Yee, Information Officer for California State Parks in an email to the Log. 


           There is an estimated $3 million in grants with awards between $200,000 and $400,000 to provide preventative measures.


“1) Planning and Assessment projects, and 2) Implementation projects,” said California Grants Portal. “Examples of projects include developing Prevention Plans, purchasing pressure washers/decontamination units, inspection programs including staffing, materials, and supplies. DBW coordinates and collaborates with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on many aspects of this program.”


Eligible applicants can visit the DBW website and create a profile on the On-Line Grant Application (OLGA)


Boaters are asked to make sure they clean, drain, and dry their boats to stop the spread of invasive species.


For more information, see

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