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‘Sticker a Mussel’ education campaign coming to an end

August 6, 2018

More than five years and 35,000 interactions later, the Lake Havasu Marine Association’s “Sticker A Mussel” campaign is coming to an end.

Association CEO/President Jim Salscheider announced the end of the campaign in an email to members. He said the Association was notified in June by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that its grant proposal to continue the program didn’t make the cut for a 2018-19 renewal.

The Sticker A Mussel program, which started in 2013 and was sustained by a $100,000 federal grant, aimed to educate thousands of boaters about the proper way to clean their boats with the goal of limiting the spread of the tiny invasive quagga mussel. Through the program, volunteers would teach boaters how to clean their boats after taking them out of the lake, and give them stickers to indicate they got the lesson. In recent years, the sticker program expanded over a 100-mile stretch of the Lower Colorado River as volunteers sought out boaters at launch ramps, boat shops, marine dealers, boat builders, waterfront resorts and campgrounds. Over the program’s 64-month duration, volunteers made 35,314 face-to-face contacts, Salscheider said.

Salscheider said the Fish & Wildlife Service seemed to favor a policy of more stringent inspections and mandatory decontaminations of watercrafts.

Only time will tell if that’s a wise decision,” he said. “We are concerned as to how and who will pick-up this slack on the lower Colorado River in our absence, leaving one of the nation’s busiest and most contaminated recreational boating areas relatively without oversight.”

The Marine Association is a volunteer group made up of local members who promote recreational boating on Lake Havasu.

Quagga mussels first were discovered in Arizona waters in Lake Mead in January 2007. A single adult quagga mussel can produce a half-million larvae in a single year. Since being introduced in Lake Mead, likely from accidental transport on a boat put into that lake, the prolific invaders have spread rapidly, according to Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website.

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