WGA-hosted Mussel Leadership Forum tackles prevention, containment of invasive threat

Attendees of the Invasive Mussel Leadership Forum saw a live demonstration of watercraft inspection and decontamination at Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

The Invasive Mussel Leadership Forum hosted by the Western Governors’ Association assembled state, federal and tribal agency staff to determine common interagency priorities for the prevention and containment of invasive zebra and quagga mussels in the western U.S. Attendees at the gathering in Las Vegas, Nev., also sought to identify a shared strategy to address these priorities.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak kicked off the Aug. 27-28 event with a keynote that highlighted the significant economic and environmental impacts caused by invasive mussels and encouraged greater interagency collaboration and communication on their management. WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury offered framing remarks as well.

Over the course of the two-day forum, the 75-plus attendees discussed issues such as research, staffing and capacity. Additional topics included early detection and monitoring for invasive mussels, as well as containment strategies. The moderated discussion was led by John Freemuth, the Cecil D. Andrus Endowed Chair for Environment and Public Lands of the Andrus Center for Public Policy.

Attendees also traveled to Lake Mead National Recreation Area for a site visit that provided a first-hand look at the interagency mussel containment program at the park. The National Park Service hosted a dialogue about invasive mussel management activities, as well as a live demonstration of a watercraft inspection and decontamination.

The Invasive Mussel Leadership Forum is part of the ongoing work of the Western Governors’ Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative, launched in 2018 as the central policy initiative of WGA Chair Hawaii Governor David Ige.

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