Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an erroneous amount for the economic impact of quagga mussels in the Great Lakes region between 2000 and 2010. The correct number is $5 billion.
Because many counties are plagued by quagga mussels, the San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District wants Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a statewide emergency.
None of the mussels have been found here.
Nacimiento staff engineer Carolyn Berg is asking the Board of Supervisors to make the request of Brown. Supervisors will discuss it at their Tuesday meeting.
Quagga or zebra mussels came to the U.S. from Europe via transoceanic ships in the 1980s, she wrote, and “have spread across the country’s water bodies at an alarming rate.”
The intruders clog water intake and delivery pipes, infest hydropower infrastructure, adhere to boats and pilings, and damage fisheries.
In her letter, Berg wrote that the mussels “cause substantial operational and budgetary impacts to aquatic ecosystems.”
The economic impact in the Great Lakes region between 2000 and 2010 was $5 billion, she added.
Berg wrote that 25 bodies of water in California are infested. The mussels have been found in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Benito, Imperial and Orange counties.
Many counties, including San Luis Obispo County, are taking preventive measures. While none have been found here, the invaders pose a threat, Berg wrote. The long-term cost, if they are not contained, could be in the billions of dollars, she wrote.
Berg said state and federal governments “must provide the necessary enforcement authority and funding to all local jurisdictions” to stop the invaders.
Tribune staff writer Cynthia Lambert contributed to this report.