Sunday, July 15, 2012

Procedures for Conducting Underwater Searches for Invasive Mussels Training

Procedures for Conducting Underwater Searches for Invasive Mussels

Hosted by: U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia River Research Laboratory in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Noah S. Adams
509-538-2299 ext. 254

When: July 13, 2012.

Where: Hood River, Oregon

What: - Classroom instruction and discussion from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Hood River Inn
            - Dry-land and in-water training from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (see dive site photos attached)

Who should attend:

SCUBA divers on established dive teams from county, city, state, federal, and tribal agencies are encouraged to attend.

Non- divers are also welcome. This is a great opportunity to learn what divers will be asked to do if you are the person organizing the search. Non-divers can participate in the morning classroom instruction and observe the divers during the afternoon.

You will be responsible for any travel, lodging, and food, but the event is free. You will need to provide all SCUBA equipment including at least one full SCUBA cylinder. Please note that there is no local dive shop that can fill SCUBA cylinders. For those of you traveling by air, USGS will provide a limited numbers of tanks for your use. If you anticipate needing USGS to provide a tank, please let us know in advance.

Training is limited to 30 divers
Please reserve your spot as soon as possible. Reciprocity agreements and liability waivers will need to be in place before you can participate in the training. Once you have confirmed your participation, we will send you reciprocity agreements and registration forms.

Zebra mussels were first detected in the Great Lakes in 1988. In 2007, Quagga mussels were found in the Western United States in Lake Mead, Nevada; part of the Lower Colorado River Basin. State and Federal managers are concerned that the mussels will continue to spread to the Columbia River Basin and have a major impact on the region’s ecosystem, water delivery infrastructure, hydroelectric projects, and the economy. The transport and use of recreational watercraft throughout the Western United States could easily result in spreading mussels to the Columbia River Basin. Efforts are being made to prevent the spread of mussels; however, there is great concern that these efforts will not be 100% successful.

If prevention efforts fail, early detection of mussels may provide an opportunity to implement rapid response management actions to minimize the impact. Early implementation of containment and eradication efforts requires getting reliable information to confirm the location of the infestation. One way to get this information is through the use of properly trained SCUBA divers. The request to conduct a search for mussels will likely be urgent and may only allow a day or two to prepare for activities at the dive site. Advanced training is recommended to prepare the divers to conduct the search in a timely, professional, and safe manner.

Topics included in the training

Below is a list of topics that will be covered during the training. You can download a copy of the entire procedures for conducting underwater searches for invasive mussels at the following link:

USGS Publication



How Mussels Move from Place to Place

The Importance of Preventing the Spread of Invasive Mussels

Dive Practices

Advanced Preparation

Dive Planning

Communication with Divers

The Buddy System

Identifying Mussels Underwater

What Divers Are Searching For

What Divers Are Not Searching For

Defining the Search Area

Methods for Searching

General Considerations

Arc Search Method

Circle Search Method

Jackstay Search Method

Dock Search Method

Collecting Information about the Search Area

Assessing the Probability of Detecting Mussels

Collecting Mussel Samples

Decontamination of Equipment

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