Leonard Willett, the Bureau of Reclamation's quagga mussel coordinator for the lower Colorado River dams, said the effort to deal with quaggas, which were discovered last year first in Lake Mead and later downstream of Hoover Dam, still is in the monitoring phase, the first part of what he called the "reactive approach."
"Reactive approach means you're going to live with the mussels.You're going to control them, but you're going to live with them," he
said in a recent presentation to the Lake Mead Water Quality Forum
projected that as the infestation sets in and begins to clog hydroelectric power cooling pipes and other hardware in Hoover Dam's
operations, the maintenance-and-control bill could reach $1 million per year, especially if pipes get plugged with quagga colonies.
That could cause turbines to overheat and shut down until cooling pipes can be reamed of the invasive species.
"This is an evil critter, not good," Willett
"It is going to cause a lot of problems when we're going to have to install control measures," he
Among the options for controlling the invasion is to use a bacteria product that targets the quagga mussels.
While that method still is being developed, Willett
said it looked promising.
They colonize repeatedly," Willett
With warmer year-round temperatures than bodies of water in the Great Lakes, quaggas are able to reproduce six times per year instead of two.
In addition, Havasu has the right mix of food, calcium and dissolved oxygen to sustain colonization.
With that, Willett
said, "You're going to get mussels.
They don't like copper or brass," Willett
A cousin of the quagga, zebra mussels, has turned up in Colorado's Lake Pueblo State Park and in California's San Justo Reservoir in San Benito County, off the California Aqueduct system.