Chelan County Natural Resources, in partnership with the nonprofit group Keep it Blue: Lake Chelan, is holding a town hall event on invasive species in Chelan this week.

The County's natural resources specialist, Lisa Dowling, says the event will focus on two main topics.

"The two big things that we're going to talk about are our second year of voluntary watercraft inspections that will hit the shores of Lake Chelan this May, as well as a new program that's coming down the pike called the Citizen Science Early Detection and Monitoring Program."

The new endeavor is designed to educate those who live and work along the shores of Lake Chelan about how to recognize a variety of aquatic invasive species.

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Dowling says the most concerning invasive threat to the lake are two species of bivalve mollusks known as zebra and quagga mussels.

"We do not have quagga and zebra mussels here in Washington yet but we are seeing them move across the Western U.S. at an alarming rate, including the first detection of them in the Columbia River Basin area last year in a portion of the Snake River in Idaho. We (Washington/Lake Chelan) are one of the only major watersheds that doesn't yet have these guys (zebra and quagga mussels) and we would love to keep it that way."

If the mussels were to become established in the lake, projected costs to mitigate their presence would be in the millions of dollars and they are expected to cause irrevocable harm to the local ecosystem.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday (March 27) from 5-7 p.m. at the Chelan Fire Hall, 232 East Wapato Avenue.

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Gallery Credit: Rik Mikals

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