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ZEBRA MUSSELS
 

ZEBRA MUSSELS
  
If you haven’t noticed, we have another invasive species in Lake Mahopac. It is the Zebra Mussel and/or Quagga Mussel. They are related and their effect is the same.
 
They were introduced in 1988 in the Great Lakes from ship’s ballast waters coming from Europe and have over the years made its way through northeast states to the lower Hudson Valley. They are about the size of a thumbnail. These mussels and their larvae/veligers were mostly transported by boats arriving from infected waters. Waterfowl may be responsible for transporting larvae in their feathers but that is a small factor. Some lakes, with controlled access points, set up boat cleaning and inspection sites. Even though some have done this, it has not prevented its spread. The bottom line is that all you need is one to reproduce and the infestation begins.
 
They proliferate rapidly. The effect is that they cling to solid surfaces on rocks, boats, motors and docks. They can clog up water intakes and especially, water intakes on motorized vessels and thus prevent adequate cooling of engines. At this stage there are no known predators to control the infestation. There are studies underway that may be helpful in controlling the infestation but nothing, at this time, that would be effective for a whole lake.
 
Conceptually, anything in the lake with a hard surface, whether boats, motors, anchors, anchor lines, moorings, fishing equipment, etc., can be a host to these invasives.
 
Boaters: What Can Be Done
 
  1. Thoroughly drying out boats and other water recreational equipment is key.
  2. Run your boat weekly to bring the water temperature up to operational conditions.  The heat will help kill off the larvae/veligers to protect the cooling system.
  3. High speed running, for a brief period, can wash away the immature larvae/veligers from the hull.
  4. Keep the engine lower unit as far out of the water as possible.
  5. If you have a lift, use it.
  6. Canoes and other physically manageable watercraft should be stored on land, if possible.
  7. Do not reuse bait. Empty bait wells on land.
 
Be Aware: If your waterfront has a lot of rocks, consider reef boots or other water shoes for protection.
 
There is much more information about Zebra Mussels on line. The Ohio Sea Grant website is one of many.     www.-ohiosg.osc.edu/OhioSeagrant
 
This is a quote from that site:
“Zebra and Quagga Mussels are not just a temporary inconvenience; they are here to stay, and we must learn to live with them. Adopt preventive measures now to slow the spread and reduce any likelihood of damage to your boat.”