Iowa DNR confirm zebra mussels in Lost Island Lake

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Zebra Mussels_1507235669032.jpg

The invasive species zebra mussels have been confirmed in a Siouxland Lake.

Lost Island Lake near Ruthven, Iowa has been confirmed to have zebra mussels in it, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

In collecting water samples across the state, the DNR found young zebra mussels in August. Further investigation showed that there were low numbers of juvenile and adult zebra mussels around the lake. 

They said that finding zebra mussels in another Iowa lake highlights the spread of the invasive species.

“The zebra mussels in Lost Island Lake probably arrived on or in a boat that had picked up the mussels from an infested water body,” said Kim Bogenschutz, Aquatic Invasive Species Program coordinator for the DNR.

Zebra mussels look like small, D-shaped clams. They have alternating light and dark bands and are less than one inch long. Attaching to hard underwater surfaces, they can form dense clusters. Large infestations may interfere with aquatic food chains, kill native mussels, clog water intakes, increase algae blooms, and cover beaches with dead shells. The DNR said there is no effective treatment to control zebra mussels once they have infested a lake. 

Young zebra mussels are microscopic and can be unintentionally transported with water in live wells, bilges, ballast or bait buckets.  Adult zebra mussels can attach to boats, trailers and aquatic vegetation.

Boaters must drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a water access and must keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport.

The DNR released some tips to help prevent further spreading the invasive species:

  • Clean any plants, animals or mud from boat and equipment before you leave a water body.
  • Drain water from all equipment (motor, live well, bilge, transom well, bait bucket) before you leave a water body.
  • Dry anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, dogs). Before you move to another water body either:
  • Spray your boat and trailer with hot, high-pressure water; or
  • Dry your boat and equipment for at least 5 days.
  • Never release plants, fish or animals into a water body unless they came out of that water body and empty unwanted bait in the trash.

“Draining all water is a critical step in preventing the spread of zebra mussels,” said Bogenschutz.

Click here for more information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters.

The DNR said that they will continue to monitor Lost Island Lake.

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