When the conservation department tells people not to move a mussel during the upcoming holiday weekend, it’s not saying "kick back and relax." This is an M-U-S-S-E-L not an M-U-S-C-L-E, as in Zebra Mussel.
The conservation department is fighting the spread of these fingernail-sized creatures that can change the food chain in waterways, replacing native creatures and ruining sport fishing. The department’s Invasive Species Coordinator, Tim Banek warns boaters to make sure they don’t carry these things from one lake to another this weekend.
Banek says the Zebra Mussels in their larval stage are microscopic and are sometimes carried in residual water left in boats while the adults attach themselves to the bottoms of boats and feel like sandpaper to the touch.
Some recently showed up at Pomme de Terre Lake although Banek says they haven’t shown up in other southern Missouri lakes.
The best thing to do to get rid of the little hitchhikers is to run the boat through a car wash or pressure wash it with hot water outside. A two-percent bleach concentration in residual water in live wells, pumps, and the bilge after taking the boat out of one body of water and before putting it in another one.
The zebra mussel is one of several invasive species the department worries about. We have a link to the department’s webpage about them with this story on missourinet.com.
Link to the page at invasivespeciesinfo.gov/aquatics/main.shtml