Outfoxing Zebra Mussels
A simple way to help protect your lake.
The reality is that once an aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels establishes itself in a lake, it is essentially impossible to remove the invader. Our only hope is to detect their presence very early, before these creatures grow into significant numbers.
Last Friday I gave my lake talk to lake association folks in Hackensack, Minnesota. Such gatherings are a great place to share information and ideas.
There I learned of a simple, cheap method by which we can get a jump on the early infestation of zebra mussels attributed to a fellow named Ed Evans. I contacted Ed to learn of the details of his approach. He told me he got the idea from a blurb from the DNR that told how to test a lake for zebra mussels. Ed went on to simplify their idea. Here is his approach:
- Tie a string to a piece of PVC pipe three to six inches long
- Lower it into the water to a foot or so off the bottom
- Then attach the upper end of the string to the dock or an anchored milk jug and leave it for a month
- Each month or so, pull the pipe up and rub the pipe surface.
- According to Ed, if it feels like sandpaper, not smooth like PVC, you may have discovered young mussels in your pipe. If you are uncertain, contact the DNR.
DNR is currently testing a chemical that may be able to kill such tiny populations of zebras that have gotten into your lake.
If house and cabin owners around a lake all participated in this simple, cheap method to head off zebra mussel infestation, we have a better chance keeping these nasty invaders at bay.
A tip of the hat to Ed Evans!