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GF&P is researching ways to slow spread of mussels

FORT PIERRE — Two state fishery officials said Friday there hasn't been any further evidence of quagga mussels and zebra mussels in South Dakota waters since two initial incidents in recent months at Angostura reservoir and Lewis and Clark reservoir.

The state Wildlife Division's fisheries staff, however, is considering possible modifications to its invasive-species management plan, according to fisheries chief John Lott.

He told members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission there are good rules already in place that address plants, fish and crayfish.

But mussels involve transportation of water that moves somehow into South Dakota.

"And that is the concern," Lott said.

Fisheries staff will discuss options about reducing the potential for the spread of mussels in transported water via watercraft but the topic is "very complicated" because there are many people with different stakes in the matter, such as recreational boaters, Lott said.

"We will be reviewing what other states have done," he said. Any proposed change in regulations would be presented to the commission in January so they could be in effect by the April start of boating season.

The quagga mussel larvae, known as veligers, were found in a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water sample at Angostura and were confirmed through a second genetic test, according to Mike Smith. He is the invasive-species program manager in the fisheries section of GF&P.

Nothing further was found in additional samples from Angostura, however, and no adult quagga mussels were found along the shoreline or by scuba divers, Smith said.

Angostura is on the Cheyenne River in southwestern South Dakota. Lewis and Clark reservoir, where the zebra mussel was found Nov. 17, is on the Missouri River in southeastern South Dakota.

A GF&P crew found the zebra mussel during removal of a courtesy boat dock for the winter season. GF&P personnel checked multiple docks on Nov. 18 but didn't find any additional adults

Plans call for further sampling during 2015. GF&P will work with Nebraska biologists regarding Lewis and Clark reservoir and a dive team will return to Angostura.

Smith said both waters now are listed as suspect. An additional finding at either one within a three-year period would mean a positive listing. If multiple year-classes are found, an infected designation would be triggered.