Riverside County Parks and Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) have announced a wetsuit safety protocol for triathlon events using Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta, CA. These protocols, designed to eliminate the possibility of introducing the quagga mussel into Lake Cahuilla and the CVWD water system, will be in effect for the 2017 Desert Triathlon, taking place on March 3-5, 2017.
Quagga mussels are freshwater mollusks capable of colonizing water bodies such as lakes, rivers, streams and water conveyance channels and pipes. Quagga mussels multiply rapidly, with females able to produce 1 million eggs per year. Microscopic larvae develop after fertilization, drifting in the water until finding a suitable place for attachment. Strong threads produced by the mussel attach the shell to most surfaces and often remain attached long after the mussel has died.
In order to ensure that quagga mussels are not unknowingly transported on athletes’ wetsuits, Riverside County Parks and CVWD will require that all wetsuits be immersed in a pool containing chlorine at a concentration of 2.0 ppm for at least 15 seconds before participants can enter Lake Cahuilla. Athletes who have completed this process will be issued a tag to be attached to their wetsuit strap. Only athletes with this tag will be permitted in the lake.
We will make the process as quick and straightforward as possible by including detailed instructions in the athlete information letter, to be emailed one week before the event, on the event site, and at the race site on race weekend. We will have a dedicated staff member and volunteers to oversee the process at the race site. Additional information can also be requested by contacting the race producers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protecting Lake Cahuilla from the invasive quagga mussel is important to the entire Coachella Valley and to the continued ability to use the Lake Cahuilla for recreational purposes, including Desert Triathlon.
For more information on the Quagga mussel – click here.