So far, our lakes are free of Zebra Mussels. These destructive Invasive Species destroy water intakes, propellers, docks, and anything else in the water. Here’s how boaters can avoid transferring Zebra Mussels into our lakes.
Whenever you leave a body of water. . .
- When transporting a boat, drain all bilge water, live wells, and bait buckets before leaving infested areas. Do not transport leftover bait from infested waterways to other waters.
- Thoroughly inspect your boat’s hull, outdrive, trim plates, trolling plates, prop guards, transducers, trailers, and other parts exposed to infested waters. If surfaces feel grainy, tiny zebra mussels may be attached. These “hitchhiking” mussels should be scraped off.
- Thoroughly flush hulls, outdrive units, live wells (and pumping systems), bilge, trailer frames, anchors and anchor ropes, bait buckets, raw water engine cooling systems, and other boat parts and accessories that typically get wet – use hot water – 140 degree F (160 degree C) or hotter water. A pressurized steam cleaner or high pressure power washer is also effective and requires less time.
- Thoroughly dry boats and trailers in the sun before transporting them to other waterways.
- On boats that remain in the water, avoid leaving outdrive in the down position. Hulls and drive units should be inspected. Mussels can attach to outdrives and cover or enter water intakes; this leads to clogging, engine overheating, and damage to cooling system parts.
How to identify a zebra mussel:
- Zebra mussels look like small clams, with a yellow or brownish D-shaped shell, often with dark and light-colored stripes.
- They can be up to two inches long, but most are under an inch.
- They usually grow in clusters, and are generally found in shallow (6-30 feet) water.
- Zebra mussels are the only freshwater mollusk that can attach itself firmly to solid objects – submerged rocks, dock pilings, boat hulls, water intake pipes, etc.
Here is a link to FOCA’s Tips for Boaters – Tips-for-Boaters-and-Anglers