Mussels devastate aquatic ecosystems by altering the food chain, and destroy expensive infrastructure like docks, irrigation systems, and water lines.
Not yet in Montana!
Perhaps the most notorious of aquatic invasive species, quagga and zebra mussels have caused billlions of dollars of damage in the U.S., particularly in the Great Lakes region. These closely related mussels have been making their way west from the Great Lakes, attaching themselves to boats and fishing equipment and catching a ride to new waterways. The threat of mussels is primarily an effect of their high reproduction rates. A single female mussel can produce several thousand eggs in one season.
The dense populations of mussels have several effects. Mussels cause ecological problems by dominating food chains and littering beaches. Most notably, mussels cause vast economic damage. With their ability to attach to hard surfaces, mussels often condense in water intake pipes used by power plants and water treatment facilities creating mass clogs and millions of dollars of damage.
Most mussels are spread via boats and are very difficult to eradicate. Therefore, the best way to avoid ecological and economic problems is to prevent the spread of mussels by remembering to Inspect, Clean, and Dry boats, especially when in known infested waters. Remember, mussels can survive several days out of the water.
Check for mussels on your waterfront property!
To check for zebra and quagga mussels on your waterfront property first examine your dock for mussels. Also, free substrate are available from Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. You can make your own by attaching a PVC pipe to a piece of string and hanging it the water. Check it at least once a month for the appearance of mussels.
Links to more information zebra and quagga mussels: