Document Type

Article

Abstract

The 100th Meridian Initiative was developed to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) through boater education and research on boater movement patterns and behaviors. Surveys employing these elements were conducted at Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA) in 2002-2003 before the discovery of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostiformis bugensis Andrusov 1897) and in 2007-2008 after an established population of quagga mussels was found in the Lake. Boaters were asked questions in a personal interview or a mail-in survey regarding what body of water they had previously launched their watercraft in, where they were planning to launch next, if they cleaned their watercraft between each launch, and if they were aware of quagga mussels or other ANS. Results from the personal interviews and mail-in surveys indicated a significant increase in mussel awareness between the pre- and post- mussel invasion groups. Cleaning habits between the study periods for both interviews and mail-in surveys did not differ significantly. Boat trailer states of registration were also documented in both study periods in the parking lots of LMNRA. In 2002-2003, 0.6% of the trailers documented were from states with known zebra or quagga mussel populations, whereas in 2007-2008, 98.2% of states documented had known zebra or quagga mussel populations. Increased boater awareness will help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and the 100th Meridian Initiative is a helpful way to educate boaters and collect relevant data on future mussel invasions. The preservation of natural waters is vital for the conservation of native species and the prevention of zebra and quagga mussel invasions will assist in this preservation. Further efforts should be directed toward educating boaters on effective cleaning methods.

Disciplines

Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Sciences | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology | Water Resource Management

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