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Reclamation updates invasive species inspection, cleaning manual

The Bureau of Reclamation has updated its inspection and cleaning manual for equipment, vehicles, and boats to prevent the spread of invasive species including zebra and quagga mussels and numerous species of plant life.

Reclamation operates water resources facilities in 17 western states that deliver water to more than 31 million people and generate 44 billion kWh annually. Intended for its own use, the inspection and cleaning manual provides guidance for any large water resources or hydropower operator that manages field personnel, vehicles, equipment, and boats serving more than one water body.

"Invasive species are a serious concern and limiting their spread is important to protect the environment and ecosystems across the West," Invasive Species Program Coordinator Joe DiVittorio said. "This manual has application for agriculture, construction, facilities, and for many organizations and agencies. It is easy to use to reduce invasive species and pest problems on land and in water."

Additions to the new version of the 224-page manual include diving equipment, a quick-find subject directory, new graphics, and a new flow chart that walks users through multiple steps of inspection and cleaning actions. The manual also is to serve as a reference standard that contractors must follow while working on Reclamation facilities and lands.

Five major equipment types are covered in the manual, rubber-tired land vehicles, tracked land vehicles, personal use equipment including dive gear, construction and facility equipment, and watercraft.

Reclamation has been conducting a multi-pronged effort to find ways to combat zebra and quagga mussels in its reservoirs. (HydroWorld 2/24/12) The mussels are invasive species that arrived in North America from Europe in the 1980s. By 1990, zebra mussels had been found in all five Great Lakes and over the next two years made their way into the major tributaries of the Mississippi River system.

As of 2011, zebra mussels had been reported within, or in waters adjacent to the borders of, 30 states. Quagga mussels were confined primarily to the Great Lakes until 2007, when a large population was discovered in Lake Mead on the Colorado River. Quagga mussels have since been reported in 15 states.

The updated manual, Inspection and Cleaning Manual for Equipment and Vehicles to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species," may be obtained from the Reclamation Internet site, www.usbr.gov, under http://www.usbr.gov/mussels/prevention/docs/EquipmentInspectionandCleaningManual2012.pdf.

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