Zebra mussels have invaded! Native to lakes of southern Russia and Ukraine the mussels were first found in the United States in the Great Lakes in 1988. Since, they have spread south and are now confirmed present in many of the states located along the Mississippi Waterway and have even been confirmed as far west as California. Mussels can spread by many means – the larvae are microscopic and can live for days without water and are often transported from water body to water body via unsuspecting boaters.
When zebra mussels infest a new water body the impact is immediate and substantial. The mussels are known to cut the feet of swimmers, clog intake pipes, destroy boat motors, and can quickly colonize large portions of the lake. Mussels filter water for nutrients – making the waters they infest gin clear. Zebra mussels disrupt the normal ecosystem have caused declines in birds, fish, and other native species.
ZEBRA MUSSEL (DREISSENA POLYMORPHA)
The best ways to prevent the spread of zebra mussels is to clean, drain, and dry your boat after each use. Other ways of managing zebra mussels is by using chemical treatments, coatings such copper or silicone, UV light, electrical current, and more.
Zebra Mussels are currently (June 2018) found in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Reference Source: https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=5
Reference Source: https://www.texasinvasives.org/animal_database/detail.php?symbol=10
Reference Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_mussel
Reference Source: https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/clams/zebra.html