Invasive zebra mussels could soon be heading toward the Pacific Northwest. So, researchers are working to protect and prepare the region’s waterways.
In the Great Lakes region, the mussels have caused $1 billion worth of damage. If zebra mussels make it to the Pacific Northwest, they could clog hydroelectric dams and irrigation systems and damage salmon habitat.
So, researchers have received a $630,000 grant from Bonneville Power to figure out when and how zebra mussels will reach the Columbia River Basin.
Steve Bollens is with Washington State University. He says the grant will help increase monitoring efforts.
“We want to be able to identify as quickly as we can when and where they arrive, so that we can prevent their spread," Bollens says.
Washington, Oregon and Idaho officials have stopped boats carrying the fingernail-sized mollusks into the region.
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