Quagga mussels escape Colorado River/Lake Mead

Invasive pests are now in northern Nevada-

When quagga mussels were found in Lake Mead, that was the unfortunate first infestation west of the Mississippi, but now some anglers or boaters accidentally spread them to two northern Nevada reservioirs.

Quagga mussel infestation hits reservoirs in Northern Nevada. By Henry Brean. Las Vegas Review-Journal.







  1. Doryfun Avatar

    For two years now boaters/rafters have had to buy invasive stickers in ID & OR, to support check stations and a questionable program to prevent invasion. Why are recreational rafters targeted so heavily, when motor boaters are the more likely vessel for transport; how about waders of fishermen? The irrigators who have the most to lose, pay nothing.

    Its ok to introduce chukars, pheasants, small mouth bass, brook trout, etc. but once our irrigation pipes begin getting clogged up – watch out.

    Last year on the Owyhee River the BLM started a new rule, whereby you now have to bring your own firewood for camp or cook fires. No more driftwood, or dead sage, despite neither being threatened or endangered. Yet, it is ok to bring foreign wood to the canyon, itself a form of invasive, for fires, and often to be left behind in the landscape when not used.

    Aside from a pain in the Ag (sorry, bad pun) world, can anyone tell me specifically what the negative ecological impacts will be to other flora & fauna caused by the quagga? Are these the dangerous wild pigs of the river? Or another critter Little Red Riding Hood will have to worry about?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Quagga and zebra mussels are filter feeders. Their ability to proliferate to very dense concentrations often results in the waters they infest becoming much clearer as they eat the phytoplankton. They remove a great deal of carbon and chlorophyll, but at the same time this can result in a proliferation of bacterial mats and often toxic blue-green algae, which they reject.

      The result of their feeding also changes the chemistry of the water by their removal of specific minerals.

      At any rate, one result is fewer fish.

  2. NotafanofWW2 Avatar

    The park service is really trying hard to keep them out of Lake Powell.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Good! I read that Lake Havasu on the Colorado now has billions of them.

  3. Doryfun Avatar


    Thanks for the feedback. A USGS website also claims that these critters are present in 15 CA reservoirs, 6 CO reservoirs, and 2 UT resrvoirs. I guess I’m still skeptical of the “war on mussels” and “alarmist reactionary measures” to wipe these “water wolves” off the planet.

    If humans like a plant, it is a flower, if they don’t, it’s a weed. Chukars are good, we can kill and eat them. Starlings are bad, they eat our crops. Wolves are bad, they eat our elk. Elk are bad, they eat our crops. Crops are bad, they displace native plants.

    When it comes to nature, good and bad is always relative to human dominance and value systems.

    All things change in nature, and we humans are always running around trying to fix things to fit our world and stabliize it the best we can.

    Why did the pesticide industry ever evolve? Made crops grow, but at birds of prey & other biotic expense. Now where are we?
    Too many people, yet we do little to try and control that.
    Thanks mostly to religion and placing man on the dominance throne, (next to godliness) we can expect only more of the same – continued efforts to control other people and critters. It must be in our dna.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan