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mussels

Quagga mussels attached to a boat. 

The Solano County Water Agency recently received a grant for $412,000 from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to extend and expand the work of the Lake Berryessa Mussel Prevention Program.

SCWA will be matching these funds for the continued operation of its program that safeguards Lake Berryessa from an infestation of Zebra and Quagga mussels.

SCWA began this prevention program six years ago. It currently includes onsite staff and services, such as a boat decontamination station and a watercraft seal system. This recent grant will be put toward an enhanced decontamination station and additional intern positions for all launch ramps.

Highly invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels are usually spread on boats going from one body of water to another and infestations can be very expensive for water infrastructure systems. In addition, the species have a catastrophic impact on ecosystems, fisheries and native species.

“Zebra and Quagga mussel infestations require costly maintenance and mitigation measures. Because of their disruption to ecosystems and infrastructure, many infested lakes are forced to close to recreation. The Great Lakes are a sobering example of their destructive quality, as mussel infestations have caused the death of local wildlife, including native fish and migratory birds.”

“A mussel infestation could be devastating not only for Berryessa but also for our important connecting water systems such as Putah Creek and the Delta,” said Sabrina Colias, associate water resources specialist for SCWA. “If Berryessa is infested, our entire region is also at risk. The end result of this infestation could be devastating for the ecology and health of our water supply.”

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation owns the Solano Project, comprised of Lake Berryessa, the Monticello Dam and the water conveyance infrastructure. The Solano County Water Agency contracts with USBR to operate and maintain the Solano Project and hold water rights to waters in Lake Berryessa.

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City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.