Zebra Mussels 101 and What you Can Do to Prevent the Spread

Zebra Mussels are small freshwater mollusks that are originally native to Russia and Ukraine lakes. They have been accidentally introduced to numerous other areas of the world.

How They Spread

They easily spread in just a few days:

  • Their larvae spread in bodies of water in the form of plankton.

  • They spread by attaching to surfaces like boats, live wells, dive gear, buoys, and many other surfaces that touch the water.

The Impact Zebra Mussels Have

The existence of zebra mussels creates ecological, recreational, and economic concerns.

Ecological impacts include:

  • Toxins in the food web

  • They filter out algae that other species need to live off of

Industrial impact:

  • They can cause millions of dollars of damage in power plants.

  • They cause problems in public water intakes by blocking water from flowing through. This costs a lot of time and money to remove them and repair damages caused by them.

Recreational impact:

  • Decomposition of zebra mussels can cause a very bad odor.

  • Zebra mussels that have caught onto boat hulls can make for a bigger drag causing more fuel to be used up.

  • They can clog engine intake in boats.

Help Stop the Spread

The more we all do our part to keep zebra mussels out of unwanted areas, the better off our bodies of water will be! Things you can do to help stop the spread are things like:

  • Inspect and clean all things that have came into contact with another body of water before putting them in a different body of water.

  • Remove any mud, animals, etc. from your boat if it has been in another body of water recently.

  • Do to allow any water from when you are washing your boat off to come into contact with a body of water or stream.

  • Dry all boats and trailers in the sun for at least five days before putting it back into the water.

  • Need to put it in immediately? Hot water wash your boat and then you’l be ready to rock!

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