CSI students get real world experience due to the Quagga Mussel

Some of their protocols have changed like refilling the disinfecting foot baths more often.
Updated: Nov. 5, 2023 at 11:48 PM MST
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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —The College of Southern Idaho has many majors and programs that offer students real-world-hands-on experience.

One of those is the aquaculture program that teaches classes like fish health management and fisheries management to name a few. The college manages a fish hatchery in the canyon as part of the program. One of the many thing’s instructors reinforce in teaching is biosecurity and its importance.

Something that was reinforced when the invasive Quagga Mussel was found in a section of the Snake River.

CSI Aquaculture Instructor Melissa Wagner, " We are no longer a disease-free facility and so we do have to worry about the potential diseases that can come onto our site as you see we have to drive through other farms as well so we have to be really careful and so the Quagga Mussel in the river is just a really good example of what can happen if you’re not following biosecurity protocol.”

Some of their protocols have changed like refilling the disinfecting foot baths more often. Students have been able to use the skills they’ve learned while taking care of the fish and the hatchery.

CSI student Avery Dewit says, “Seeing where the water comes from and where it’s going to is really important to keep track of everything and do the best, we can to keep everything secure within the building and around us as well. Being aware of the invasive species that around us and the Burbot have we can’t let out since they’re not native down here so that could be a whole problem and not letting the Quagga Mussels into our building would be another big one.”

Another unique situation that might come out of the Quagga situation is more opportunities for students and for the hatchery’s fish as well.

“It might offer new potential opportunities to the students to go out and help them survey or we’ve offered up some of the fish we raise here to see if we can help restock the river once it’s open again for fishing and recreation,” said Wagner.

More information about the aquaculture program can be found here. Quagga Mussel information can be found here.