Local Quagga/Zebra Mussel Prevention Program Receives Federal Funding Authorization as Part of Water Resources Legislation

December 9, 2020 - For Immediate Release

Contact: Brad Sherwood, 707-322-8192

(Santa Rosa, CA) Representative Jared Huffman this week delivered good news to the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) and County of Mendocino; federal funding is being authorized to support invasive quagga and zebra mussel prevention efforts such as the mussel-sniffing dogs at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino as part of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. The bicameral agreement passed the House of Representatives, and now moves to the Senate for final approval.

Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, voted in favor of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, legislation that is critical to the Nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure. WRDA 2020 includes an annual authorization of $30 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist financially in the ongoing water and boat inspection operations, including the mussel-sniffing dogs at Lakes Sonoma and Mendocino.

Local reservoirs, such as Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, are threatened by the tiny mussel invaders which if introduced into a waterway can devastate the environment and cost millions to repair damaged infrastructure. Sonoma Water and the County of Mendocino have been working together with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement a long-term mussel prevention inspection program at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino. Mussel-sniffing dogs are currently being deployed at each reservoir to sniff out the pesky invaders. In just the past two years, two boats were found with mussels by the mussel-sniffing dogs and their inspectors. Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino remain mussel-free.

Sonoma County Supervisor and Sonoma Water Director James Gore said, “If introduced into Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, quagga and zebra mussels could destroy critical infrastructure, devastate our Coho salmon recovery program at Lake Sonoma, and cost millions of dollars in maintenance and operations costs. The authorization of federal funds to support mussel inspection programs in our region will bolster our ability to keep these mussels out of our reservoirs. Thank you to Congressman Huffman and his team for bringing these federal dollars into our region.”

Mendocino County Supervisor Carre Brown said, “The authorization of federal funding to support quagga and zebra mussel inspections at Lake Mendocino and other Russian River basin waterways is critical for the long-term stability of our mussel-sniffing dog program. We must work together to keep these invasive mussels out of our reservoirs. Thank you to Congressman Huffman for helping protect our region’s water resources from these invasive mussels.”

Rick Herbert, Lake Sonoma Marina Owner, “The Lake Sonoma boating community believes the invasive mussels pose one of the largest threats to our reservoir’s water quality, ecosystem and overall health. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as they ramp up boat inspections with this new funding authorization.”

For more information about the ongoing efforts to keep mussels out of our local waterways, visit www.dontmoveamussel.com. More information about the bill text can be found here.

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