Dear North Coast Invasive Mussel Prevention Partners:
We are excited to share with you the news that U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) today announced that he founded the bipartisan Congressional Invasive Species Caucus. Read the press release here. Thompson co-founded the caucus with Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI-1). The Caucus will serve to raise awareness about invasive species, support local communities who are bearing the brunt of this problem, and promote efforts to prevent and control the spread of invasive species. The Caucus will provide opportunities for Members of Congress to meet with other policy makers, organizations and industry leaders that are working to prevent the spread of invasive species.
“Invasive species pose a costly challenge to infrastructure, agriculture and the environment,” said Thompson. “By bringing together experts and industry leaders, we can come up with plans to protect our communities from invasive species before they become a major problem.”
Invasive species threaten communities by devastating native habitat, damaging crops, clogging water pipes, infecting plants and animals with dangerous diseases, or outcompeting native species. These impacts can lower crop yields, pose health hazards, irreparably damage natural environments, and take a severe toll on local, state, and federal budgets.
Thompson recently co-authored bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1823, the Protecting Lakes Against Quagga Act, that would add quagga mussels to the national invasive species list. This listing gives federal agencies greater ability to prevent the spread of the invasive species.
In the 5th Congressional district, Clear Lake, Lake Sonoma, and Lake Berryessa are all rated at the highest possible risk for quagga invasion. Currently none of these lakes has been invaded by quagga mussels. However, if quaggas invade one of these lakes, control and treatment would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and impact the water supply for residents in Sonoma, Lake, and Solano Counties. If quagga mussels invade the state water infrastructure it could cost millions every year to keep the pipes clear.
The Congressional Invasive Species Caucus will work to develop plans to combat the spread of invasive species like the quaggas.
Popeye the mussel-sniffing dog was out at Lakes Mendocino and Sonoma July 6th and 7th and found no mussels. Popeye inspected over 150 boats. Listen to this KRCB media interview about our program with Popeye. Popeye will be back out at the lakes August 3rd and 4th, and August 31st and September 1st.