Quagga and Zebra Mussels Close in on New Mexico

From the January 2016 newsletter

New Mexico is on the verge of an invasion of nonnative plant and animal species that threaten the health and quality of our waters. Although New Mexico is only one of 6 states in the Continental US with no evidence of infestation, Zebra and Quagga Mussels have been found in lakes and streams of all our neighboring states, most recently the Quagga mussel has been found in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam at Lee’s Ferry. We all will need to play our part in helping to avoid their spread.  If you visit any of these infested waters, below are suggestions for decontaminating waders, boots and other paraphernalia that may carry spores, parasites or other hidden species which may escape into or from the local watershed are below:

Because aquatic nuisance species are generally microscopic in nature, it very difficult to ‘see’ whether you have properly cleaned your equipment (vectors) including fishing gear, boots, wader, float tubes, vest, sandals, socks, line, reel, boat, canoe, and even vehicles…. The EPA, and other environmental agencies which have had a bigger role in establishing the decontamination procedures for several states and federal agencies ARE RECOMMENDING THE USE OF BLEACH to decontaminate as well as Cleaning and Drying. Use a solution of Common household bleach (Clorox), and fresh water in a container of adequate size for this procedure. A 2% solution is adequate to disinfect gear of all pathogens of hard and soft sided objects. 13 oz of Bleach to 5 gallons of water or 2.5 oz to one gallon will make you a 2% solution. … Hard items must soak for at least one minute, no less. Five is best. Soft items such as felt soles, clothing, sandals, or anything else that takes time to dry out should be left for thorough saturation. 15-30 minutes will suffice. … Once items have been saturated and allowed to sit in the solution for the correct amount of time, it is time to rinse off. Take another bucket with fresh water and rinse the items until no smell of chlorine is present on the item when you use Bleach. Now allow the gear to completely dry.

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