Zebra mussels first arrived in the United States in ballast water from Russian cargo ships.  Long, long ago.  The water was released as the ships made it through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.  By the late 1980s, a city manager shared with me a photograph of an abandoned car pulled from Lake Erie.  It was covered in layers of the tiny mussels.

If you end up with mussels in your fish tank, whatever you do, don’t dump the contents into a pond or stream.

Predators avoid them because the tiny creatures taste awful.  They overrun bodies of water and intake systems.  They can very much damage existing dams.  The mussels filter water and rob it of many nutrients.  Leaving many native species to die.

This week I had a conversation with Idaho Fish and Game and remarked we may be in a losing battle in trying to keep them out of the state.  Quagga Mussels also pose a similar threat.

Less than 24 hours later I was doing some reading before my show and came across this link.  And it appears quite widespread across the Northwest.

If you end up with mussels in your fish tank, whatever you do, don’t dump the contents into a pond or stream.

The mussels were discovered in moss balls and it appears some were sold at Petco stores.  The stores will be working with Idaho’s Department of Agriculture ensuring future aquarium products are mussel free.

The Department of Agriculture conducts inspections of boats entering Idaho.  If mussels are found, visitors are going to be turned around.

The city manager who long ago showed me the picture of the car explained bleach would remove the mussels.  Easily done on your boat.  Not so easily done with lakes, rivers and water systems.

 

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