Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Judge imposes maximum fine in Missouri zebra mussel case

Sentence highlights personal responsibility for
negligent introductions

As time goes along and invasive species of various kinds are
becoming a larger threat to natural places, officials are beginning
to assess penalties for failing to follow the rules put in place to
help stop their spread.

For example, here is the story of one man in Missouri, who
transferred zebra mussels from one body of water to another when he
moved a boatlift… 

An Independence, Missouri man received the maximum fine for
introducing zebra mussels into Smithville Lake last year.

David Wayne Frazier, 51, pleaded guilty in Clay County Circuit
Court to a charge of transporting a prohibited species. Judge Janet
Sutton imposed a fine of $1,000 and six months of probation.

The case is the first prosecuted under a provision in Missouri’s
Wildlife Code designed to stop the spread of invasive species. It
began on June 28, 2010, when fisheries workers with the Missouri
Department of Conservation (MDC) discovered adult zebra mussels on
a private boatlift during a swimming inspection of the Camp Branch
Marina. An investigation by Conservation Agent Scott Stephens
revealed that in October 2009, Frazier moved the boatlift from Lake
of the Ozarks, where zebra mussels already were established.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and MDC staff immediately
removed and decontaminated the lift. MDC, in cooperation with the
Corps, Clay County Parks and Recreation and the City of Smithville,
used a copper-based algae killer to eradicate the zebra mussel
infestation in August 2010.

The Corps continues to monitor the lake for residual zebra mussels.
None have been detected so far.

“Transporting invasive species like zebra mussels, emerald ash
borers or silver carp from place to place can damage Missouri’s
recreation, tourism and agriculture industries,” said MDC Invasive
Species Coordinator Tim Banek.

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