Cantwell seeks federal action on Asian clams found in Whatcom County waters


U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get involved in controlling the Asian clam infestation recently discovered in Lake Whatcom, Whatcom Creek and Lake Padden.

Cantwell has sent a letter to Daniel Ashe, director of the federal agency, asking him to help develop plans to eradicate the clams here and prevent their introduction in the future.

"Existing clams in Lake Whatcom need to be eradicated as soon as possible in order to minimize the risk of subsequent infestations and establishment of other invasive species," her letter said. "In addition, USFW must also prioritize and develop a prevention plan in partnership with state and local officials. Specifically, resources need to be dedicated to investigate both the potential impacts of these Asian clams on the Lake Whatcom water supply and the risk of subsequent infestations from other invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which could pose an even greater threat to Lake Whatcom."

The clams are native to southern Asia, Australia and the eastern Mediterranean. Thousands of them can crowd into a square meter as they compete with native mussels for food and space, and they also deplete dissolved oxygen in the water.

In other places, authorities have battled the clams by dredging out the sediment they live in; drawing down reservoirs so they die in the cold during winter; and covering them in plastic mats to cut off their supply of oxygen.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/10/20/2235370/cantwell-seeks-federal-action.html#storylink=cpy