Clean machines can stop the alien
Bay City Times
There's good and bad in the recent news that zebra mussels
have spread to six more Michigan inland lakes.
When the little, striped natives of the Ukraine show up
in a lake, they gobble up the zooplankton that insects
and native fish and mollusks need to survive.
They cling to docks and boats like saltwater barnacles
and their sharp shells can cut your bare feet.
They are spreading to inland lakes after ship ballast
water released them to infest the Great Lakes.
That's the bad news.
The good part of the Michigan Sea Grant's report on the
inland spread of the zebra mussel is that they don't seem
to spreading as fast as they could.
Humans are the main agents for the mussels spread. The
mussels or their spawn cling to boats or trailers or ride
in bait buckets from lake to lake.
But, because just six inland lakes in Michigan became
new homes to the zebras last year, scientists think quite
a few boaters and fishermen are taking care.
They are cleaning their trailers, boats, jet skis and
gear before getting them wet in another lake.
About 75 percent of Michigan's 11,000 inland lakes are
habitat for zebra mussels.
Yet, so far, just 2 percent - 187 - of the inland lakes
Let's stop that invasion right there.
Keep up the cleaning, boaters.
And spread the word.
That's how you muscle that dreaded mussel.