Adult Zebra mussels in SD prompt alarm

Updated: November 30, 2014
Adult Zebra mussels in SD prompt alarm

State officials in Nebraska and South Dakota have begun to discuss their plans for dealing with an apparent invasion of the zebra mussel, which was discovered on a docking bay bordering the two states in the Lewis and Clark Lake.

The sighting of a single adult zebra mussel which happened on November 14, has caused authorities to launch a follow up search of the area but they did not find any additional mussel.

Considered native to Eastern Europe, the invasive mussels are small in size and are black and white in color. Their presence especially in large quantities must not be ignored however, as they can compete with native freshwater fishes for planktons causing the latter to eventually die due to lack of food.

They are also reportedly poisonous to birds and animals when consumed as they have been identified in several studies since the 1900s as one of the sources of avian botulism.

First discovered in the U.S. in 1988 in the Great Lakes, the zebra mussels are said to have been brought to the country by the trans-Atlantic ship’s ballast waters.

They normally attach themselves to bait buckets, boat motor and other equipments used in water, and are then transferred with the equipment to other water areas.

Despite their water-filtering capacity, zebra mussels are considered more of a nuisance as they also tend to spread and attach themselves to structures and pipes corroding the materials in the process and also block water pathways such as large pipes found power and water treatment plants, according to Beta Wired.

Posing more danger than benefits to water areas, zebra mussels are always eradicated by authorities when discovered. Recreational water users and anglers throughout the country are ordered by authorities to always clean, drain and dry their equipments so as to avoid the attachment, transfer and spread of the mussels.

Annual search of the lakes for zebra mussel larvae are conducted by Staffers of Nebraska Game and Parks and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. With all the samples this year being negative so far, experts reportedly believe that the latest discovery was just a case of a single mussel getting attached to boat that was launched near the Midway boat ramp.

Despite the unsuccessful discovery of subsequent zebra mussels, continuous monitoring of the South Dakota side of Lewis and Clark Lake are reportedly being conducted by officials.