January 16, 2008--Zebra mussel found in California reservoir (LA Times)

The zebra mussel that has wreaked havoc in waterways around the nation has been found in California, dismaying state and federal water officials who hoped to prevent the fast-spreading mollusk from reaching the West Coast. State officials do not know how the mussel traveled west of the Rockies, although they suspect it may have hitched a ride on a recreational boat transported by trailer. Dozens of zebra mussels turned up in the last 10 days in a Hollister-area reservoir that serves growers and residents in San Benito County, known for its walnut and apricot orchards. County officials there worry that the mussel will clog irrigation lines and pumps in a region that has already been hit hard by state water shortages. The zebra mussel, like its close relative the quagga mussel, is a European native that infested the Great Lakes and other waterways in the last two decades, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Both types of mussels can alter the food chain dramatically and cause steep declines in fish populations, according to government and academic scientists who have studied their spread.

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