New council to focus on stopping spread of invasive species
By Drew Dakessian, Sustainable Business Oregon intern
Pacific Northwest Economic Region this week said it has created a new bi-national council aimed at preventing the spread of invasive species such as the quagga mussel, pictured here.
Government and industry leaders from western Canada and the Pacific Northwest this week announced plans to form a regional, bi-national invasive species council.
The goal is to keep invasive species out of the Columbia River and other regional waterways.
"By forming a regional invasive species council, policymakers can share limited resources and better prevent invasive species from moving in to the region,” Idaho state Rep. Eric R. Anderson said in a news release from the Pacific Northwest Economic Region. “By forming these partnerships, we know who to turn to, whether it's the neighboring state or across the border."
The formation of the council was announced Wednesday at the annual summit of the PNWER, a nonprofit and bi-national planning group that includes several Canadian provinces and Western states.
Invasive species, such as quagga mussels, may inflict harm on local ecosystems by eating the phytoplankton that fish need to survive.
Anderson said PNWER members Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana are the only states in the lower 48 still free of quagga mussels. But without action, he warmed, that could change.
According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, infestations are the result of adult mussels hitching rides on watercraft, and their microscopic larvae being transported in any equipment that holds water.
Without due diligence, these mussel-infested watercraft and water vessels can be introduced to previously untouched regions and wreak havoc on their ecosystems.
“This is the collapse of ecologies,” Anderson said. “This cannot be allowed to come into the Northwest.”
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