Last Saturday, on October 22nd, the Virginia Master Naturalists were able to become informed from a talk about Preventing Zebra and Quagga Mussels. They are an invasive species from Europe and were introduced on our continent by large cargo ships and have been a problem in the northern and western lakes. Now they are being found further south and east. The talk we heard was to inform us of a possible threat and how to prevent them. These mussels could be dangerous threats to Smith Mountain Lake and other fresh water ponds or waterways. They can take over a lake and it is near impossible to wipe them out once they have found a home. Mr. Casey Kroll spoke to us from the Smith Mountain Lake Invasive Species Committee.
|Mr. Casey Kroll|
Some facts about what they do may alarm us. Each female produces 30,000 eggs monthly. Eggs are in microscopic larvae. The drifting larvae, veligers, attach themselves to every hard surface. The adult mussels will densely cover any hard surface. They are razor sharp so hands and feet may not escape cuts. They will remove nutrients needed by plants and other wildlife. We have not created a way to remove them.
|Picture of Mussles|
They were introduced to the US by shipping from the Black Sea to the Great Lakes and were transported on boat bottoms, baits wells in the bilges. They then came by waterway or trailered overland. They are just a day away by car now.
Some wise facts to consider are to avoid infested waters. Rent a boat and don’t bring an infested one into a clean lake. If mature muscles are visible, scrape the off. Scrub the hull, drain bilge and flush both with hot water and rinse. Dry the boat for five days before launching and that would include anchor lines and dock lines. However, it is very important to note that drying time can take up to 45 days depending on temperature and humidity in the Mid Atlantic Regions.
|Maps of Mussel Locations|
We can also be aware of this infestation by becoming educated and spreading the news to others. Spreading the news and becoming educated will help us before we get into this environmental quagmire.
(Information is taken form US Zebra and mussel infestation from:http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/Nonindigenous_Species/ZM_progression.html and Parts of boats in need of cleaning from http://texasinvasives.org/zebramussels/ )
Submitted by Marlene Groth