Boaters Beware of Zebra Mussels

By KBJR News 1

October 13, 2011 Updated Oct 13, 2011 at 6:31 PM CDT

Superior, WI (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Zebra Mussels, a foreign Great Lakes invader, has been spreading into inland lakes and rivers in Minnesota and Wisconsin for the past two decades.

Many of these aquatic nuisances wouldn't survive the winter if they didn't get out of the water.

Many unknowing boat owners keep them alive because they don't check their boats for clinging pests before putting them in dry-dock.

It takes lots of pressure and lots of hot water.

The DNR recommends that all water-related equipment be cleaned by pressure washing with hot water, and dried for at least two weeks before putting them back into the water.

According to the service and yard supervisor at Barker's Island Marina in Superior, there is also an anti-fouling paint that contains copper that repels things like Zebra Mussels and most algae.

About 90 percent of the 300 boats at that marina are covered by that paint, which is applied annually to semi annually and the DNR says it works well to keep submerged and vulnerable parts of boats protected.

"They'll pull their boat out and it hasn't been painted or the propeller or the motor hasn't been painted, it will be a big mess of mussels and slime. It's just a big cleaning project"

According to the DNR a female zebra mussel can lay between 50,000 and 400,000 eggs in a season.

They can affect the food chain in a big way, invading the base of the food chain, causing a ripple affect that can result in native species dying of hunger.

And without natural predators they reproduce quickly.

Right now there is no safe way to get rid of Zebra Mussels that are in the system...That's why the DNR recommends that boaters do their part by taking the time and care to wash, drain and dry their boats and docks when transporting them to another lake.

Written for the web by: Zach Vavricka