Zebra Mussel Watch

The zebra mussel, a black-and-white striped bivalve mollusk, came to North American waters from Europe in international shipping ballast water. Since first discovered in Lake St. Clair in June 1988, the zebra mussel has spread rapidly throughout the Great Lakes and the Arkansas, Cumberland, Hudson, Illinois, Mississippi, Mohawk, Niagara, Ohio, St. Lawrence, and Tennessee Rivers. The mussel is expected to spread to other fresh water bodies and waterways throughout North America in the next several decades.

The zebra mussel is clogging power plant, industrial and public drinking water intakes, fouling boat hulls, and disrupting aquatic ecosystems throughout its range. Economic impacts of the zebra mussel in North America over the next decade are expected to be in the billions of dollars.

Zebra mussels are fingernail-size clams with yellowish or brownish shells marked with wavy bands. Their larvae are too small to be seen, but live for weeks in any water left in boats. As zebra mussels grow, they form clumps that damage boats, kill native clams, foul beaches with stinky razor-sharp shells, and clog water intake pipes.

 IF YOU HAVE BOATED RECENTLY IN A ZEBRA MUSSEL INFESTED AREA, PLEASE FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS:

  • Before you leave an infested body of water, drain all bilge water, live wells, bait buckets, and any other water from your boat and equipment.
  • Thoroughly inspect your boat's hull, drive unit, trim plates, trolling plates, prop guards, transducer, anchor and anchor rope, and trailer. Scrape off and trash any suspected mussels, however small, before leaving the infested area.
  • When you get home, before launching your boat into uninfested waters, thoroughly flush the hull, drive unit, live wells (and live well pumping system), bilge, trailer, bait buckets, and engine cooling system with a hard spray from a garden hose.
  • Boats and trailers should be allowed to dry thoroughly in the sun for 2 to 4 days before being launched into uninfested waters.

Zebra mussels are on the move. These pests are easily transported by people, boats, and fishing gear. Please assist us in stopping them.

 To find more detailed information about zebra mussels, visit Dr. Jefferey Ram's Zebra Mussel Page

 The above information was provided by the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, www.nps.gov/glca

 

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