The workshop is hosted by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Southern California Sea Grant, and Paua Marine Research Group
On June 29, the Division of Boating and Waterways, along with several other agencies, will host a Fresh and Saltwater Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Workshop online from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
The workshop will have a series of experts who will help the community gain a better understanding of the impacts freshwater aquatic invasive species have on an environment; recognize invasive species; learn how to take action and prevent the spread of fresh, and saltwater invasive species by inspecting and cleaning equipment and watercraft.
“I think these events absolutely help boaters and marine operators and others interested such as divers and charter operators to really become aware of what the scope of the problem is and to take measures that make a difference,” said USC Sea Grant Education Programs Manager Linda Chilton.
Quagga and zebra mussels are topics of particular interest for the workshop. They are an invasive species from Europe and were first found in California in 2008.
The mussels breed quickly and in larger numbers. They have been known to clog water intake structures and cause damage to boats, docks, and other structures, causing expensive repairs and maintenance costs.
The mussels are particularly harmful to native mussel species and other filter-feeding invertebrates as they outcompete native species.
“The earlier you detect invasive species, the easier it is to eradicate or control them,” said Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cesar Blanco. “Once the species gets a hold and establishes a population of critical mass, it is very difficult to eradicate or control the species. So, from our standpoint a workshop aimed at our general citizens or population is good for people to have an increased awareness.”
Catherine Mandella, an environmental scientist with the CDFW, will cover the basic biological background of quagga and zebra mussels and the department’s role in managing the species and regulations put in place to slow or stop the spread.
“I get more into specifics…About what our department covers,” said Madella. “We’ve got our fish and game code 2301 and 2302 which cover the regulations that the various water managers around the state have to adhere to.”
An important concern is the methods by which these species spread. Often times they can attach to the hull of a boat, and when the boat moves from one body of water to another, the species is brought into that new environment.
“For zebra and quagga mussels, a lot of people don’t understand that when they move their boat from one lake to another, if they don’t do some sort of check on their hull, they could be potentially spreading invasive species,” said Blanco.
The workshop will cover vessel and gear inspections and how to decontaminate your equipment to limit the introduction of these species into new environments.
A draft of the full schedule was provided by the California Coastal Commission:
9 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome, Introduction and Agenda Review (Vivian Matuk, California
State Parks and California Coastal Commission)
9:15 – 9:35 a.m. Regional Invasive Species Issues. Costs, Operational Impacts, and
Potential Problems (Cesar Blanco and Louanne McMartin, United States Fish and Wildlife Service)
9:35 – 9:45 a.m. Questions
9:45 – 10:25 a.m. Marine Invasive Species: Causes, case studies, and what you can (really!) do (Linda Anne Chilton, the University of Southern California Sea Grant Education Programs Manager, and Adam Obaza, Biologist Paua Marine Research Group)
10:25 – 10:35 a.m. Questions
10:35 – 10:45 a.m. BREAK
10:45 – 11:45 a.m. Introduction to the Quagga and Zebra Mussel Program, including vessel/gear inspection and decontamination (Catherine Mandella, California Department of Fish and Wildlife)
11:45 – 11:55 a.m. Questions
11:55 a.m. – 12 p.m. Wrapping up Workshop, Fill out an evaluation form
It is required to register for the event in advance. Participants will need to register by June 27; for more information and to register for the event, see https://bit.ly/3aycvAJ.