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Case Study:  Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

Summer 2004
Use of Travelers' Information Stations for Invasive Species - Zebra Mussel Prevention
Funded partly by grants through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, states along the 100th meridian have been installing Information Station Specialists information radio stations to teach boaters how to slow the flow of zebra mussels westward. States from Oklahoma to Montana and South Dakota include interpretive information in broadcasts as well as history, events and features of local areas. Read what aquatic nuisance species program manager Stephen Phillips has to say about putting Information Radio to work.

Zebra mussels attach to submerged surfaces and can survive out of water for extended periods of time. Zebra mussels can disperse by attaching themselves to recreational watercraft and hitching rides from one water body to the next (see picture, left). When they are introduced to a new aquatic system, they reproduce rapidly and clog turbines in power plants, municipal water intake pipes, fish screens, and other underwater structures. They also cause severe ecological impacts, which is of great concern to salmon restoration efforts in the Pacific Northwest. Millions of dollars are spent each year to manage zebra mussel infestations in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainages. To date (July 2004), the North American distribution of zebra mussels has been restricted to east of the 100th Meridian. However, zebra mussels have been discovered attached to recreational watercraft more than 30 times in California, Washington, Arizona, and Colorado. It is our goal to keep these unwanted invaders from establishing themselves in the western United States.

"Traveler Information Station systems are seen as a cost-effective approach to educating and alerting boaters and the public to the zebra mussel threat. The TIS message will broadcast information about the potential for unintentionally transporting zebra mussels and other invasive species on boats and related equipment traveling west from states east of the Mississippi River. Boaters are encouraged to inspect and clean their boats and trailers of the unwanted pests. TIS systems have been set up or are in the process of being set up in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. Funding for these systems has come from the Bonneville Power Administration and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

"We developed a TIS message using the radio personalities (Patrick Warburton and Richard Kind) featured in the “Clark and Lewis” Horizon Air commercials. These public service announcements will be used as the message on our TIS sites. Also, we will use these messages as part of a radio public service campaign along the Lewis and Clark Trail (i.e., Missouri and Columbia River basin states).
Close-Up of Zebra Mussels on Boat Propeller
Photo courtesy of Stephen Phillips
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
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