Governor Brown Signs State Senator McGuire's Mussel Prevention Funding Bill, Mussel Inspections to Immediately Increase at Lake Sonoma, Lake Mendocino

     

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    2018-09-20

    For Immediate Release - September 9, 2018

    Contact: Brad Sherwood, 707.322.8192 (cell), brad.sherwood@scwa.ca.gov

    (Santa Rosa, CA)  Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signed into law Senate Bill 790, authored by State Senator Mike McGuire that will allow any person or entity that manages any aspect of the water in a reservoir where recreational, boating, or fishing activities are permitted, such as the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) to apply for and receive grant funding to prevent the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels.  Local legislators also supported the bill including Assembly Member Marc Levine.
    “Sonoma Water can now apply for critical mussel prevention dollars to bolster our prevention efforts and keep our waterways mussel-free,” said Sonoma Water Board of Directors Chairman James Gore.  “We appreciate the support of Senator McGuire and our local representatives whom worked tirelessly to develop and pass SB 790.  Governor Brown’s signature sends a strong message that protecting our water resources from invasive species remains a top statewide priority.”
    Quagga and Zebra mussels are two species of non-native freshwater mussels from Eurasia that can disrupt the ecological balance of waterbodies and reduce their recreational value, and impede distribution of water supply systems by encrusting water intakes, pipes, and other structures. To minimize further impacts to the State it is important to prevent them from being spread.
    The signing of SB 790 into law was in response to a recent positive mussel detection on a boat trying to enter Lake Mendocino.  Before entering Lake Mendocino, a specially trained dog detected quagga mussels on the boat’s engine.  The boat was not allowed to enter the waterway and was decontaminated.  The close call drew immediate attention from regional water resource managers and local legislators to increase mussel prevention funding and programming.  Prior to the SB 790, local water managers, such as Sonoma Water, were not allowed to receive state mussel prevention dollars if the facility was not completely owned by the local water manager.  Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, however Sonoma Water is the local co-sponsor of the facilities and manages water flows from the reservoirs for water supply purposes.  SB 790 now allows the local sponsoring agencies of any waterway, such as Sonoma Water, to apply for and receive the highly sought-after state mussel prevention funds.
    In 2012, Governor Brown signed into law legislation (AB2443) that requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to collect an additional fee ($16 every two years) on behalf of the Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) on vessels used in freshwater and subject to registration in the State of California. Proof of fee payment is demonstrated by display of a unique sticker alongside the registration sticker. The fee funds prevention programs at uninfested reservoirs open to the public for recreational activities. These grants will help water managers develop prevention programs, implement programs, or expand upon an existing program.
    For more information about SB 790, please visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB790.  To learn more about local mussel prevention efforts, please visit www.dontmoveamussel.com.

     

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