Invasive Species – the Quagga Mussel

Every day it seems there’s a story that’s ripe for Heartwood USA to turn into an episode. Case in point – the quagga mussel. The New York Times today ran a piece about how this invasive species, which can disrupt an entire eco-system, has taken hold in the Colorado River system. It’s not a new story (the mollusk was first introduced to the US in 1989) but I was struck by this passage about Wen Baldwin, a National Park Service volunteer:

Mr. Baldwin lobbied officials at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area for more inspections of recreational boats, which carry mussels in bilge pumps and live bait wells. He distributed brochures and spoke widely on the threat. “I started researching it and put on some programs, trying to get people to pay attention. Some did. Most didn’t.”

So, here’s the Heartwood USA episode: Carson learns about a new invasive species and sounds the alarm bell and calls for more inspections of boat hulls and bilge bumps.

Dummkopf Industries, which owns the local shipping company, stands to lose money if they have to slow down for inspections. So Shamus accuses Carson of being a “regulation first, last and always” type.

Meanwhile, they carefully clean their model “show boat” of any mollusks. Carson and Hugo find the dumpster where they’ve emptied the invading mollusks and expose Dummkopf.

Ok, so it needs some work. But you get the idea.

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