Out West, resource managers are waging a fierce battle to keep zebra and quagga mussels out of their lakes and reservoirs. I wish them well, but all it takes is one boat out of thousands launched to infect a waterway.
At Lake Tahoe last year, boat inspectors found 36 vessels infested with exotic species, as they inspected more than 7,000 and decontaminated more than 4,000. Most importantly, though, managers found no evidence of mussels in the lake.
Other fisheries were not as lucky, as a quagga infestation was discovered in California’s Lake Piru, with boat quarantines implemented at Cachuma and Casitas.
By the way, quaggas are even more troublesome than zebras, as they can withstand colder water than their cousins and they can colonize soft substrates.
According to the Great Lakes Echo:
“These abilities have helped it colonize most of benthic Lake Michigan. Just like zebra mussels, quagga mussels are quite effective at clogging water intake pipes and other infrastructure. Mitigating these impacts has cost Great Lakes residents millions of dollars.”
The Echo annually publishes Tim Campbell’s invasive-species rewrite of “The Twelve Days of Christmas, which he created in 2011 for the Wisconsin Sea Grant.
“Twelve quaggas clogging, ‘leven gobies gobbling, ten alewives croaking, nine eggs in resting, eight shrimp ‘a swarming, seven carp and counting, six lamprey leaping, FIVE BOAT-WASH STATIONS! Four perch on ice, three clean boat steps, two red swamp crayfish and a carp barrier in the city!”