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View Full Version : Got Zebra Mussels?


gene dobies
11-15-2004, 08:10 PM
Last November the bottom of this rowboat was bare after being in the water all summer and this year this is what we have now. We are beginning to have a rapid growth of these pesky zebra mussels. They are on almost everything in the water, including the weeks. I understand they are an environmental worry and already costing America billions of dollars in industry. Power plants,etc, have to have special ways of cleaning intakes for cooling. I heard they can plug a 3 foot diameter pipe two thirds.
I was wondering if anyone has these around their parts and what is being done about them. We used to treat our lake with copper sulfate once or twice a year for control of weeks and algae. We haven't done it now for about 4 or 5 years. I have read that these things stay away from copper, brass, galvanized and silicone products.
Hoping this might be a good topic for discussion.

gene dobies
11-15-2004, 08:15 PM
pic of rowboat http://

gene dobies
11-15-2004, 08:15 PM
This is a quarter near the back

gene dobies
11-15-2004, 08:20 PM
another shot

gene dobies
11-15-2004, 08:22 PM
dock legs, they are on everything. One neighbor told me they were two inches thick on the bottom of his rowboat and yet some aluminum pontoon boats had none while others were full of them

JimN
11-15-2004, 09:05 PM
You may want to contact the DNR about these. Do you have a creek that runs into the lake or public access? If public access, I would guarantee that someone came in with their infested boat/trailer and launched it, leaving a bunch of the critters. They do a nice job of cleaning the water, but they breed way too fast and take over. Time to introduce something that feeds on them, but doesn't breed quickly.

sfitzgerald351
11-15-2004, 09:12 PM
While I was at MIT I worked with the Sea Grant program there that did a lot of non-indigineous species work. The USGS has a decent webpage with more info about the Zebra Mussel at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/zebra.mussel/ So far I haven't seen them in the lakes I visit (we have more of a problem with the Milfoil plant) but unlike Milfoil the Zebra mussel can exist in a microscopic form which is hard to detect. Coupled with the fact that they can survive out of water for a short period of time and have no natural preditors they have a fair chance of wreaking havoc with many more lakes.

On the lakes in Maine and New Hampshire they pay college kids and retired folks to hang out at the major boat ramps all day and collect information on where the boats are coming from and to inspect the boats for foreign species before the boats go into the water. I don't know what it is about my MC, but even if I'm in a weedy lake I never seem to pick any up on the boat or trailer.

Tgchrist
11-15-2004, 09:31 PM
That is a lot of mussels. I live in Michigan and we have them as well. Our population seems to be dropping for some reason but I have them covering my boat lift. From what I read they come in on the freighters in the balast, get dumped in the great lakes and carried around from there. I have found them from Maryland to Georgia to Michigan. Bad news.

JimN
11-15-2004, 10:41 PM
I seem to remember hearing that there's a particular Goby that likes zebra mussels. Unforunately, once they have an endless food supply, they're the invading species. We have them here in WI, too. Lake Michigan has them and most of the inland lakes, too. The Milfoil is pretty bad in some inland lakes, but they have signs posted and skimmers to get rid of a lot of it.

sizzler
11-16-2004, 02:01 AM
we have a lot of illegal immegrant chinese workers that descimate our local shellfish beds (cockles ,mussels etc.) they ruin our fishermen's businesses.......we'll send a whole load of them over to you.........

mussels in black bean sauce all round :toast:

jimmer2880
11-16-2004, 06:11 AM
I sure hope they don't like rivers! Keep them away from me - please!

gene dobies
11-16-2004, 07:30 AM
Believe me, they are coming to a town near you, so to speak. These things are spread in live wells of fisherman, bait pails etc. They will get into the cooling system and clog it up. Lots of people going to lifts on our lake. Some people draw water for their house and 3 people have drilled wells this summer because they knew they couldn't be able to clean their intakes once the lake froze. The trick does seem to be to keep your water inlet at lease 20 feet or deeper, that's about as deep down as these things go.

ski_king
11-16-2004, 08:46 AM
Gene, How difficult where they to get off the bottom of that rowboat?

I have seen some in the Allegheney River, but they are not too bad yet. Actually what I have seen are much smaller and might not be the same. Hopefully all the floods this summer washed them down stream.

gene dobies
11-16-2004, 09:27 AM
Powerslot. They are tough to get off. They attach with a string-like growth. Scraping them off with an oar. They are on almost everything. Every rock you pick up from the bottom has them. They stink like crazy as they die and rot.

mitch
11-16-2004, 11:50 AM
Must be sharp on the feet too, ouch!

phecksel
11-16-2004, 12:00 PM
Must be sharp on the feet too, ouch!

You ain't whistling dixie! I cut a toe all the way to the bone by landing on something in the bottom of the lake that had zebra mussels attached to it. And this was in 9' of water. Blew an entire tank of air cleaning out the entire area in front of my dock and boat house of anything big enough to hold in my hand. Surgeons would love to have tools as sharp as these things. Interesting to note our lake was the clearest it's ever been about three years ago, when they were the worst. The population has significantly declined, and it looks like we're now dealing with blue/green algea :(

mitch
11-16-2004, 12:13 PM
That sounds painful. Keep ya toes up :D

Rockman
11-16-2004, 01:52 PM
That is unbelievable! I never imagined that they would take over so fast. :eek:

I have heard about them here in Lake Michigan in the Chicago area but never actually saw one.

I can say we've been lucky in Wiscinson where we ski. We haven't seen one yet. Only thing that some lakes have near ours is the Milfoil which can be just as bad I guess.

gene dobies
11-16-2004, 02:20 PM
Just go to google.com and type in zebra mussels, you will get more information than you care for

lakes Rick
11-16-2004, 07:59 PM
we have a lot of illegal immegrant chinese workers that descimate our local shellfish beds (cockles ,mussels etc.) they ruin our fishermen's businesses.......we'll send a whole load of them over to you.........

mussels in black bean sauce all round :toast:

AH SO ......

jimmer2880
11-17-2004, 06:07 AM
You ain't whistling dixie! I cut a toe all the way to the bone by landing on something in the bottom of the lake that had zebra mussels attached to it. And this was in 9' of water. Blew an entire tank of air cleaning out the entire area in front of my dock and boat house of anything big enough to hold in my hand. Surgeons would love to have tools as sharp as these things. Interesting to note our lake was the clearest it's ever been about three years ago, when they were the worst. The population has significantly declined, and it looks like we're now dealing with blue/green algea :(
guess that's why we haven't been taken over yet. Being on a river, it gets soo thick with mud in the spring/fall that you can't see through a glass of it.

ski_king
11-17-2004, 08:10 AM
If there is a good thing about the Zebra Musels, its that they do clean the water.
Lake Erie was one of the dirtist bodies of water before the zebra's invaded, now it is "almost" clean.

gene dobies
11-17-2004, 08:38 AM
If there is a good thing about the Zebra Musels, its that they do clean the water.
Lake Erie was one of the dirtist bodies of water before the zebra's invaded, now it is "almost" clean.

The cleaning of the water is double edged, after they filter the water it is free from all the nutrients that others need. Also with the water becoming so clear, that allows the sun to penetrate even deeper and promotes more weed growth and at added depths now.

Dean Witmer
11-17-2004, 05:07 PM
We live on Lake Ontario and have had Zebra Mussels for many years. They seem to have leveled off in the last few years. The goo news is that they don't seem to be attaching to boats here. I have three boats in use. One is in the water all season and has no mussels attached. The other two are kept out of the water except when used. We have had little trouble with water intake. The water is remarkably clearer, which has changed fishing and navigation.

gene dobies
11-18-2004, 10:53 AM
Thanks for all the input and interest everyone. I will keep ya posted in the spring how the bottom of the lake looks after winter, or if there seem to be more or less on rocks etc. Thanks again

scramblerkid
11-24-2004, 08:54 AM
I've sliced my feet on 'em almost a couple of times... I keep my boat on Silver Lake in fenton MI, and we have to pull out the docks and boat lifts every year in order to keep the mussels from taking over. The good thing is that they all die and fall off before spring arrives. The bad is that there doesn't seem to be anything that works for treating the problem IN the water.

OhioProstar
11-24-2004, 10:25 AM
I think my Uncle's lake in MI used some sort of chemical to shock their reproductive process and it pretty much eliminated them for a few years. A problem with that is once they die the ammonia level goes up quite a bit and you can get a fish kill. Nasty little buggers to say the least. My parents private lake stopped hosting fishing tourneys because of the fear that bilge systems with water from all over the region could introduce the mussels.

skiboy
11-26-2004, 06:48 AM
We got infested a few years ago in the Kawartha lakes. I'm on Pigeon Lake. This year when I pulled the docks out, and checked the main lines on the course, the population and dropped dramaticly. Don't know why.

BriEOD
11-26-2004, 08:23 AM
I have not seen them down here. I go out on a river. But, if I see an alligator covered in them one day I'll be very concerned.

Jim@BAWS
11-26-2004, 09:53 AM
Having been to Dean Witmer's house many, many times in upstate NewYork. Every year I get warned..."Jim watch out for the Zebra Mussels" . Lucky for me I guess that I have never cut the bottom of my feet. Where Dean lives is near the St. Lawrence Seaway. That area of the great lakes was the first to have the infestation of the mussels. I remember maybe 10 :woohoo: years ago how the lake dramatically cleared up. The water clarity was like it had never been in years. Then the weed growth came, fishing changed the damn things where everywhere. It appears that where there is food available for the mussels they grow like crazy. The water is clearer and cleaner now and the mussel population is down. There seems to be a balancing act going on. Better fishing for small mouth bass has returned just in different areas and deeper water 18-21 feet.

The 1000 Islands area of NewYork is beautiful with some of the most unique properties in the world. Love to visit there every year. I think the Zebra Mussel infestation has been a 75%benefit to water quality now hat things have leveled off after many years of to many mussels. It takes time to clean up those bodies of water. Same may never be cleaned up as crap is still poured into the lakes. I am not a "LIBERIAL WACO" to say the least "W" all the way. but I do appreciate clean water. :woohoo: :woohoo: