Invasive mussel prevention


Vessel Inspection Program

Mussel InspectorEBMUD’s boat inspection program includes two parts: a vessel history survey and a subsequent physical inspection. Boats that fail either the survey or the inspection cannot be legally launched in EBMUD reservoirs without first going through a decontamination process. 

Vessel History Survey - Vessels will fail the vessel history survey and not be allowed to launch in EBMUD reservoirsfor the following reasons:

  • The vessel comes from a high risk area. High risk areas are defined as the general areas where positive identification of one of the mussel species has been documented. At this time, this includes all counties of Southern California and all vessels from outside of California. County of origin is determined by vessel registration documents.
  • The vessel has been launched on waters in the high risk areas (see above) within the past 30 days.
  • Boat operator fails to comply with any aspect of the inspection process.

The list of areas deemed as high risk will change over time as new detections of mussels are made. If your vessel does not pass the vessel history survey, you may still be able to launch in the future; contact the management at one of the reservoirs to find out if vessel cleaning or a 30-day quarantine program is available. Vessels passing the vessel history survey will then normally progress to the physical vessel inspection.

Physical Vessel Inspection - If your boat is coming in to one of EBMUD's reservoirs, it may be subject to physical inspection prior to being authorized to launch. Inspections are performed by qualified EBMUD staff and take approximately five minutes to complete. Vessels will fail the physical vessel inspection and not be allowed to launch for the following reasons:

  • Standing water is found in live wells, bait wells, bilge areas, any container possessing live bait, or any other portions of a vessel. This water may harbor mussels in their larval stage. 
  • Water drains out of an engine when outboard motor or out-drive is lowered into the vertical position.
  • Vessel is found to have mussels or other aquatic invasive species attached to some portion of the vessel. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be notified if Quagga or Zebra Mussels are suspected.
  • Boat operator fails to comply with any aspect of the inspection process.

Watercraft Decontamination Program - Mokelumne

Vessels that fail the vessel survey or physical inspection have the option to have their vessel decontaminated at the Watercraft Decontamination Station located at Camanche South Shore Recreation Area. The decontamination process involves a high pressure hot water flushing and costs between $25-$45 or higher per vessel depending on the complexity of the decontamination and size of the vessel.

Vessel Inspection Seal Program

Vessel owners leaving the launch ramp or gate (and having completed a physical inspection on this visit) may elect to have a vessel inspection seal placed on their vessel. This will allow them to return to any EBMUD reservoir without having an additional physical vessel inspection. However, some vessel/trailer configurations preclude the proper placement of the seal.  Vessels arriving at the launch ramp or gate with a properly installed vessel inspection seal will still need to complete a vessel history survey but will not need a new physical vessel inspection. EBMUD maintains a reciprocal banding agreement with other reservoir operators who have agreed to adhere to the same inspection standards.

EBMUD is asking all boaters to follow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) guidelines for mussel prevention.

How Boaters Can Help (excerpts from CDFW)

Boaters should check their boat, trailer and vehicle every time the boat is taken out of the water.

  • Inspect all exposed surfaces (vehicle, trailer, anchor, dock lines, live wells, bilge, motor, hull, trailer axle and rollers). Small mussels feel like sandpaper and are invisible to the eye.
  • Wash the hull of each watercraft thoroughly (steam clean if possible).
  • Remove all debris, plant and animal material.
  • Drain all water and dry all areas.
  • Drain and dry the lower outboard unit.
  • Clean and dry all live-wells.
  • Empty and dry any buckets.
  • Dispose of all bait in the trash.
  • Wait five days and keep watercraft dry between launches into different fresh waters.

Thank you for your vigilance, support and patience in keeping our waters free of invasive mussels.

Remember: Clean and Dry, Inside and Out

Related Links

Additional Information

Document Type Size
Boat Inspection Form PDF <1 MB
Quagga Map PDF <1 MB