IRON COUNTY— Iron Conservation District is informing residents and visitors that zebra mussels and banded mystery snails have been found in Fortune Lake at Bewabic State Park.
The zebra mussel and the banded mystery snail are spread by people. Often recreationalists transport them to the next unadulterated body of water. “We unsuspectingly transport them when we leave invasive aquatic plants attached to boats and fishing equipment,” said the ICD,
Zebra mussels are an invasive species. They are usually under 1-inch but can be up to 2-inches in size. They are black to brownish in color with alternating dark and light stripes. They have a “D” shaped shell. They attach to hard surfaces such as rocks, docks and boats. They live in depths of 6-feet up to depths of 30-feet of nutrient rich water found in rivers, lakes and ponds.
Zebra mussels interfere with the aquatic food web and oppress native clams, mussels and crayfish. They help accelerate the growth of Eurasian water milfoil. They litter the beaches and make it dangerous to walk barefoot. They can cause major damage when colonies block pipes, affecting power plants and water treatment facilities. Zebra mussel larvae can get drawn into boat engine intakes and can colonize the interiors of the engine cooling systems. They impact the quality of the water with their decomposing bodies. This decomposition disturbs fish spawning habits which leads to less fish, and it can cause the water we swim in to have a foul odor or taste.
Just one female zebra mussel can produce more than one million eggs in a year’s time. They are a very tolerant species, which makes it easy to spread them but yet hard to control. Prevention and control is estimated to exceed $500 million a year.
Banded mystery snails have a large olive green shell with four reddish bands that circle it. They live in the sandy bottoms of lakes and ponds or in slow moving rivers and streams. The banded mystery snails compete with native snails for their food and habitat. They invade largemouth bass nests and reduce the survival of the bass eggs, thus reducing the amount of largemouth bass. They also serve as a host for a parasitic worm that is transmitted to fish, turtles and waterfowl.
To help control the spread of these invasive species to lakes and rivers use the formula: Clean, drain and dry. Clean watercraft, trailers, motors and all equipment. Drain water from your boat, motor or livewell. Dry everything at least five days before going to other waters. These are the three important steps for keeping local waters healthy.
New sightings can be reporter to the Iron Conservation District at email@example.com, call 875-3765 or contact the Michigan Invasive Species Information Network at www.misin.msu.edu, noting date and exact location.