News Release Archive

Reclamation announces mussel-sniffing dogs to protect New Melones Lake from invasive species

Media Contact: Mary Lee Knecht, 916-978-5100,

For Release: June 04, 2020

SONORA, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation will begin using mussel-sniffing dogs to inspect boats on the weekends this summer to help protect New Melones Lake from invasive-aquatic species, such as quagga or zebra mussels. Staff will also provide training to boat owners on conducting boat inspections to reduce the invasion of aquatic species that are negatively impacting many recreational areas across the country.

Based on the inspection and history provided by boat owners, New Melones managers will not allow vessels to launch if they have been in a mussel-infested lake within the last 30 days or if it fails the vessel inspection. 

Scientists and engineers call quagga and zebra mussels “biofoulers,” because they displace native species and coat and clog everything in their path. They also clog boat motors and may clog New Melones Lake Reservoir’s pipes.

Boaters are encouraged to follow these simple guidelines when entering or leaving any water way to expedite the inspection process:

  • Inspect all exposed surfaces; small mussels feel like sandpaper to the touch.
  • Wash the hull of each watercraft thoroughly.
  • Remove all plant and animal material.
  • Drain all water and dry all areas (including the lower outboard unit).
  • Clean and dry all live-wells and dispose of any unused bait in the trash.
  • Empty and dry any buckets and compartments.

The staff appreciates boaters’ assistance in protecting local water resources. Staff encourages boaters to review California’s Division of Boating and Waterways Clean, Drain and Dry Boat Cleaning Procedures before transporting boats this summer.

Learn more

Questions about activities, directions, pet restrictions or other topics? Call the New Melones Visitor Center & Museum at 209-536-9543 (TTY 800-877-8339) or the Administration Office at 209-536-9094, or visit the New Melones Lake website at

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.