SkyscraperCity Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ottawa ignored zebra mussel warning, scientist says
2 October 1989
The Toronto Star

The federal government's failure to heed a 1981 warning that the Great Lakes could be invaded by a European mussel will cost taxpayers and industries millions of dollars, says the director of the Great Lakes Institute.

Paul Hebert, an aquatic biologist, said the Great Lakes and other Ontario waterways will soon be coated with striped zebra mussels because Canadian authorities didn't act on a report predicting the invasion.

The rapidly reproducing mussel, a native of the Caspian Sea, is a major problem in Europe, clogging water intake pipes and attaching itself to hard surfaces around lake perimeters, on boat hulls and on fishing nets.

It has multiplied rapidly in Lake St. Clair since it was found there in 1988, has spread to Lake Erie and is expected to arrive in Lake Ontario early next year.

In some areas, swimmers have to wear footwear to protect their feet from the thousands of sharp-shelled mussels, and some municipal water plants have had a 25 per cent reduction in intake.

Hebert said that where there were 200 mussels per square metre of St. Clair lake bed last year, there are 10,000 mussels this year.

He said the government could have prevented the mussel, known scientifically as Dreissena polymorph, from entering Canada if it had stopped cargo ships from discharging ballast tank water into the Great Lakes after 1981.

"I think it was a very, very expensive mistake," he said from his University of Windsor office. "There's just no question there will be a multi-million dollar cost to the Canadian population forever. I think it's unacceptable that when this report was in, no action was taken upon it.

"It didn't take someone with a crystal ball to recognize this problem."

The 1981 report, by Bio-Environmental Services in Georgetown, said the ballast water contained many live organisms capable of surviving in the Great Lakes.

Between Aug. 25 and Oct. 31, 1980, the consultants found 56 aquatic invertebrates, not known to the Great Lakes, in samples taken from 55 ships from 10 geographic regions.

Joe Schormann, a senior program engineer for Environment Canada before retiring last November, said he was disappointed when the $50,000 study he commissioned was shelved by the Canadian and United States coast guards, which have authority to control discharges in the Great Lakes.

"After it came out, it was reviewed by a lot of people from both coast guards," he said from his home in Perkins, Que. "The opinion was 50-50 whether it was worthwhile to pursue it and do something or do nothing. Much to my regret, the do-nothing vote won the day, and it was shelved."

Recently, at the urging of the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, a Canada-U.S. body that reports to the external affairs minister and the U.S. secretary of state, the Canadian coast guard drafted a policy to reduce the likelihood of other organisms or species being introduced into Great Lakes waters.

Coast guard spokesman Tom Fleck said ships are now being asked to exchange the ballast water they have taken on in coastal waters for deep-sea water before entering the Great Lakes. Mid-ocean salt water species are unlikely to survive in freshwater lakes, he explained.

He said compliance with the voluntary policy appears to be high.

The Canadian coast guard will monitor the situation and release a report on the success of the program at year's end, Fleck said.

He said no action was taken on the 1981 report because the Canadian and U.S. coast guards concluded that the potential for new species to be introduced into the Great Lakes "wasn't clear."

Marg Dachoda, a biologist with the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, said scientists became alarmed last year when they discovered two other potentially destructive invaders - a plankton and a perch fish - in the waters.

She said the failure to act on the 1981 report was unfortunate.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
750,000 mussles per square metre a scary prospect
3 March 1990
The Toronto Star

While Leach is hopeful their numbers will level out after the initial population explosion, he sees no permanent solution in the future and believes the zebra mussel can't be eradicated.

The harmful effects aren't fully measured as yet, but the possibilities are frightening.

Thus far, the principal damage has occurred around intake pipes for municipal water supplies, generating stations and industry, where they have reached plague-like proportions - up to 750,000 per square metre.

Fisheries in danger

Foot-deep windrows of zebra mussels have appeared along beaches after storms. They can coat commercial fishing nets, clog marine motors, sink channel marker buoys, cut the feet of swimmers and more. Much more.

The molluscs may decimate, if not destroy, our Great Lakes fisheries. Spawning beds are being smothered and some reefs are covered by layer upon layer of mussels. There's also the danger of them infecting fish with diseases and parasites.

In addition, mussels consume plankton, which fish fry depend on for sustenance. Therefore, water clarity can be bad news, indicating plankton are in short supply. Moreover, it is feared that gin-clear water might force light-sensitive walleyes off their traditional feeding grounds.

It seems well nigh impossible to implement control measures against billions of mussels, each of which lives about five years and produces up to 40,000 eggs per year during a breeding season that stretches from May to October. The larvae, which are invisible to the naked eye, are scattered far and wide by currents.

Although such natural predators as freshwater drum, sturgeon and waterfowl make a tiny dent in zebra mussel numbers, their impact isn't noticeable. Ontario Hydro is experimenting with chlorine but even if successful, it would affect only a small, localized problem area.

The thought of these molluscs invading our inland waters is really scary - much more of a certainty than a possibility. Leach reckons Lake Simcoe tops the hit list, although all the Trent and Rideau systems are extremely vulnerable.

We're strongly advised not to transport minnows or crayfish from the Great Lakes into inland lakes. All it takes is one careless or unthinking angler to spread the scourge.

Got a foothold

Mussels will happily hitch a ride on boat bottoms, whether the craft is in or out of water. Those who trailer should check the hull after their boat has been pulled from the lake. Not just visually. If the bottom feels grainy, larvae may have got a foothold.

If the boat is high and dry for two or three days in hot weather, the problem will die. If not, it must be scraped clean before being launched. A tough job is made much easier if you've had the foresight to apply a coat of bottom wax, such as the Easy On brand, which is a brush-on clear coating that provides a soft movable surface between hull and organisms, also retarding algae growth. It's available at marine dealers and Canadian Tire and the cost of treating a 24-foot boat for the season is about $30. A small investment for future fishing.

Pot shots: Kudos to Georgina council for setting a fine example for other municipalities. When a plan to severely limit hunting in the township met with strong opposition, council got together with interest groups and worked out a fair compromise that has everybody satisfied.

* The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters' live release research project was given a big boost from Seagram's Five Star, in the form of a cheque for $8,600.

* Is peace of mind, self-reliance and confidence worth $45? If so, sign up for the Toronto Sportsmen's Association wilderness survival course, which entails four evenings and a field trip, between April 17 and May 12. The agenda includes first aid, edible plants, weather and signals, building shelters and survival techniques. For information, telephone 487-4477.

* New boaters and some old ones, too, are well advised to register for the Introduction to Boating course sponsored by the York East District of Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons. Topics include life jackets, lines and anchoring, regulations, navigation aids and more. The two-hour evening sessions are slated for Centennial College March 20, 27, April 3, 10. Cost is $15. Contact George Davis at 483-4068.

* Success rate in the much-disputed Long Point deer hunt was about 85 per cent. Proving the herd was under pressure, whitetail weights were an average of one-third less than other southwestern Ontario areas.

* John Power is a freelance outdoors writer/consultant and member of a number of conservation organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Agency considers moving Tahoe boat inspections to roadways to better combat invasive mussels
25 July 2009
Associated Press Newswires

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Boat inspection stations designed to keep invasive mussels out of Lake Tahoe's pure, blue waters would be moved from launches to roadsides under a proposal being considered by the two-state agency charged with protecting the lake's environment.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's governing board thinks stations along entry highways to the Tahoe basin would provide a better line of defense against quagga and zebra mussels.

TRPA staffers said they have heard reports of some boaters using makeshift launches to avoid having their boats checked, and the roadside stations would make it more difficult to escape inspections.

The agency is trying to keep nonnative mussels that attach to a boat's hull in other waters from becoming established and ruining Tahoe's delicate ecosystem.

"It may be the best way to make sure all of the boats are inspected," TRPA spokesman Dennis Oliver said. "We don't have an answer to whether it's feasible, but there's a great deal of interest in possibly going in this direction."

The proposal would involve 24-hour staffing of stations along U.S. 50 in California and Nevada, and along Nevada Routes 431 and 207, and California Routes 89 and 267.

Board members did not take action at a meeting this past week but directed staff to report back with more information in August.

"What we're doing is effective, but its porous," Douglas County Commissioner Nancy McDermid said. "It only takes one slipping through to have an impact we don't want on the lake."

The biggest obstacle is the cost, which is still unknown, Oliver said.

"It's not the cheapest option," he said. "The board likes the idea and wants more details about what it would take to accomplish it."

In the meantime, the agency is exploring a proposal to conduct inspections at two or three centralized locations around the lake instead of the 15 public and private launches now being used. The plan, which could take effect next summer, would speed up the process for boaters.

Some 6,300 boats were inspected at the lake from May 1 to July 8. Of those, 470 were decontaminated, and 10 found to have mussels never were launched.

A report prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded an infestation of mussels at the lake would mean an economic loss of $22 million a year.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
UNLV researcher working on ways to quell quagga mussels in Lake Mead reservoir
14 November 2009

LAS VEGAS (AP) - David Wong came to Las Vegas to try to save it from alien invasion.

The native of China has been a researcher at the School of Community Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since July 2008 for one reason -- to wage war against quagga mussels.

"In terms of potential ecological impact and economic loss, the quaggas are the worst threat facing Las Vegas," Wong said. "We need to monitor them and then figure out how to manage them."

The little freshwater mollusks threaten to clog the region's water systems by sheer numbers, and poison the water by ingesting and excreting concentrated pollutants that work their way up the food chain.

Wong has studied the effects of invasive mussel species in the United States for 15 years.

During the eight years before his move to Nevada, Wong focused on a cousin of the quagga, the zebra mussel, and the ecological danger that species posed in the Great Lakes and Hudson River. He was a sidekick to the main mussel fighter there.

In early 2007, he read about the discovery of quagga mussels in Lake Mead, the Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam about 30 miles east of Las Vegas.

Quaggas became his quest. He figured he could play a major role in trying to stop quaggas from wreaking disaster on the economy and the freshwater ecosystem in the Western states.

Now, the biologist sees his life's work as "mitigating, monitoring and studying these invasive pests."

Although he is dedicated to eradicating them, Wong admires his foe.

"They're unique, so smart," he says.

Quaggas have moved from coast to coast across the country in a matter of years -- hop-scotching from lakes to rivers in boat hulls and through drinking-water pipes -- despite widespread prevention efforts.

They're tough, Wong says. Their asymmetrical shells are razor-sharp. And although they're tiny, he's seen them shred the wet suits of more than one diver who underestimated them.

Wong's approach to the quaggas is like his personality: careful and patient.

"He's generally a pretty quiet guy," said his boss, Shawn Gerstenberger, executive associate dean of the School of Community Health Sciences. "That is, until you get him talking about research. When he gets something he's passionate about, he gets very animated and tries to get everyone involved in the discussion."

"The mussels are really one of those things," Gerstenberger said. "He's on a mission to find out everything he can about them and find ways to use that to our advantage."

Researchers say Lake Mead is a perfect breeding habitat for the bothersome bivalves. Much of the lake bed is the hard rocky surfaces quagga mussels love, and the lake is chock-full of algae and nutrients the mollusks need to thrive.

The lake temperature is ideal for quagga reproduction -- which won't occur if the water temperature drops below about 50 degrees. The water in Lake Mead is about 65 degrees much of the year. Researchers have found quagga reproduce especially fast in early summer and fall.

Mussels eat like a tiny liver, absorbing toxins and heavy metals such as mercury, selenium, polychlorinated biphenyls and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the lake water in a process called bioaccumulation.

They later excrete those chemicals and metals in the form of a highly concentrated waste pellets that sink to the lake floor to be eaten by bottom-feeding fish.

Some researchers say poisoning the entire lake is the only sure way to kill off most, if not all, quaggas. One researcher suggested introducing quagga-killing bacteria to infested lakes. But that, like poisoning, would kill fish and wildlife in and around the lake and downstream -- not to mention compromising 90 percent of Las Vegas' water supply and water used in Arizona, Southern California and Mexico.

Adding to the lake one or more types of fish that like to eat the quaggas might work -- as long as they don't eat something easier to digest. No one wants to add a fish that is going to crowd out the game fish or upset the ecological balance in an unexpected and detrimental way.

The fish idea is one of many that Wong is researching, but he's taking a measured approach.

He's not yet convinced the lake can ever be free of the quaggas. But if there is a way, he plans to find it and he wants to get his quagga killing right the first time.

Wong is seeking out less complicated quagga-infested watering holes where he can experiment with ways to quash the quaggas without poisoning the water or killing sport fish.

He spends his weeks monitoring the Lake Mead quagga population, looking at growth rates and monitoring the mussels' effects on the ecology and toxicity of the lake.

He studies the population and mating habits of the quaggas, looking for vulnerabilities, so he can know the best time and way to deliver the coup de grace to the underwater horde.


Information from: Las Vegas Sun

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
U.S. may close Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Fear Asian carp nearing Lake Michigan

By Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune
6 December 2009

Fisheries Canada workers begin to scoop up fish that float to the surface at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during the Asian Carp Rapid Response Project on Thursday. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources launched an unprecedented fish kill by dumping gallons of the toxin rotenone into the canal. But at least early in the day, none of the fish which were killed were Asian carp. (Tribune photo by William DeShazer / December 3, 2009)

Dec. 6--As wildlife biologists scoop the last remaining poisoned fish from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal this weekend, federal officials are considering temporarily closing the vital shipping corridor to stop the spread of the invasive Asian carp into Lake Michigan.

Cameron Davis, a Great Lakes adviser to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama administration, said Friday that talks are "accelerating by the nano-second" and a decision could come within a couple days about closing the O'Brian Lock near the mouth of Lake Michigan.

The move would effectively sever the lone water channel linking the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and deal a crushing blow to the region's shipping industry.

"The long-term solution to this is figuring out a way to allow cargo and boats to pass (through the canal), but not allow invasive species to move up it," Davis said. "We knew this day would come."

The talk comes amid heightened concern about Asian carp inching ever closer to the Great Lakes, a scenario biologists warn would devastate the lakes' $7 billion sport and commercial fishing industry.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources this week led a $3 million eradication effort in the canal while one of two electronic barriers keeping the carp from moving closer to Lake Michigan was repaired.

After dropping a liquid toxin into the canal on Wednesday evening, fisheries biologists recovered tens of thousands of dead fish over the next three days, including one Asian carp -- the first confirmed physical sighting of the fish above the Lockport Lock and Dam, less than 40 miles from Lake Michigan.

The fish kill, believed to be the largest of its kind in Illinois history, rekindled interest in the state's 15-year battle with Asian carp, known to grow up to 110 pounds. The kill also sparked conversations about what may ultimately have to happen to stop the threat in its tracks: locking the dams that allow for easy passage up and down the canal.

"This is unquestionably a crisis," said Henry Henderson, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest Program.

"The federal government, the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers has been very unresponsive to this issue, creating, in effect, a superhighway for invasive species (entering Illinois from the Mississippi River). We need to come up with real long-term solutions to fix this."

Some, including Henderson, have advocated closing the dams temporarily to ensure invasive carp don't enter Lake Michigan.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the dams, said it's looking at the short-term and long-term effects of shutting them, warning that closings would not only disrupt commerce but raise the risk of flooding and threaten water quality for the area.

Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the Chicago District of the Army Corps of Engineers, said the agency is also considering whether additional fish kills near dam sites could alleviate some of the immediate threat.

"You've got to consider all options," Quarles said.

The American Waterways Operators, which represents the tug and barge industry, said even a temporary closing of dams would increase shipping costs because commodities now shipped by boat would have to be carried by trucks or trains.

But those costs might be acceptable to save the Great Lakes from such "catastrophic" harm, officials said.

"You get one of these beasts into the Great Lakes, and it's the beginning of the end," Henderson said. "This is a man-made problem that can be fixed. But we have to be prepared to make some tough decisions."

Tribune reporter James Janega and Tribune wire services contributed to this report. [email protected]

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Conservation officials widen fight against invasive species beyond Lake Tahoe to other lakes
13 February 2010

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) - Conservation officials in the Sierra Nevada are expanding their efforts to combat invasive species at Lake Tahoe to other lakes and reservoirs in the area.

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District will work with local officials and conservation groups this summer to try to keep quagga and zebra mussels out of Donner and Independence lakes as well as Stampede, Boca and Prosser Creek reservoirs.

"It's in everybody's best interest," said Dave Roberts, manager of the conservation district. "If (invasive species) get into one of those lakes, it'll be that much harder to keep them out of Tahoe."

The effort is being funded through a $231,000 grant from the Truckee Meadows Water Authority, the Reno area's water provider. The agency is trying to protect the Truckee River, the Reno area's major water source.

All boats must undergo an inspection before entering Tahoe in an effort to keep invasive mussels out of its pure, blue waters.

Roberts said while officials ultimately hope to expand boat inspections to the other lakes and reservoirs around Tahoe, many details still need to be worked out.

A series of meetings will take place throughout the spring to work out logistics of the pilot inspection program, he said.

"We thought we could take our experience in the Tahoe Basin and share it in the region, and ultimately have universal inspections," he told Truckee's Sierra Sun newspaper.

Nevada County Supervisor Ted Owens suggested one place in the Truckee area where boats would be checked, then given a sticker to show they're clean when they show up to launch at one of the area's lakes.

"I've gone through the rigors of launching a boat in the lake," Owens said. "We have to make it user-friendly, perhaps create a universal inspection point."

Roberts said the $231,000 could pay for six full-time inspectors for the summer.

"So far the inspections have been extremely well received. Locals understand the risk involved with invasive species," Roberts said.

No quagga or zebra mussels have been found in Tahoe or any other area lakes or reservoirs. But if they become established within Tahoe or elsewhere in the area, they could massively disrupt aquatic ecosystems.

One federal study says a mussel infestation could cost Tahoe's economy $22 million annual in lost tourism and property tax revenue.


Information from: Sierra Sun

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Groups to work this summer to eradicate Asian clams from bottom of Lake Tahoe
17 March 2010

STATELINE, Nev. (AP) - Plans are set to start eradicating populations of Asian clams from Lake Tahoe's bottom.

On July 5 a coalition of agencies is scheduled to begin removing the dime-sized clams, mainly in the lake's southeast corner.

Tests last year used plastic bottom barriers to kill clams by robbing them of food and oxygen.

"We're moving forward with the bottom barrier approach. It's effective enough," said Jeff Cowen, community liaison for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Last year scientists experimented with different ways to remove the clams, including using vacuum-equipped divers to suck them off the lake bottom and onto barges.

But it was more economical and effective to use the bottom barriers. They worked well, resulting in 100 percent clam mortality within 28 days, according to scientists.

Groups plan to cover an acre at South Lake Tahoe's Lakeside Marina and another acre at Marla Bay. Efforts to eradicate clams in Emerald Bay are slated to start in 2011.

Asian clams are native to Japan, Korea and China. Small populations of clams were first found in Tahoe in 2002. Their numbers have increased since then.

The clams can create problems like algae blooms and experts also are concerned they could chemically alter Tahoe's waters, allowing the invasion of other nonnative species like quagga or zebra mussels. Those could be nearly impossible to remove and could severely damage the lake's ecosystem.

The clams are a serious threat that can't be ignored, said Steve Chilton, aquatic invasive species coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will fund most of this summer's $412,000 efforts.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Where's the urgency?
5 October 2010
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Congress and the Obama administration should get serious about taking tougher measures to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 carrying oceangoing vessels and the dreams of Great Lakes cities: With a direct link to the world's ports, it was thought, cities such as Milwaukee could become international shipping centers.

Instead, the flow of goods, though welcome, has been modest while the import of invasive species has been disastrous.

The spiny water flea, the zebra mussel, the quagga mussel and the round goby all probably came to the lakes via international shipping. The quagga is now so pervasive that billions of them carpet the bottom from Milwaukee to Muskegon. The mussels deplete the water of oxygen and are suspected in algae blooms and other problems in the lakes, the Journal Sentinel's Dan Egan reports.

It's clear that not enough is being done to seek an effective remedy; this responsibility lies with the president, Congress, the Canadian government and the shipping industry.

Closing the seaway could stem future infestations, but such a move is highly unlikely. Over time, the answer may be better technology to treat the ballast tanks of oceangoing ships that use the waterway. In any case, these ships shouldn't be allowed to dump live organisms from their ballast tanks into the Great Lakes system. Meanwhile, what Egan referred to as the "back door" - the Chicago and Sanitary Shipping Canal, where Asian carp are knocking - should be slammed shut in some fashion as well.

In recent years, the United States and Canada have required all overseas ships entering the Great Lakes to flush their ballast tanks with salt water; flushing is thought to kill or expel unwanted hitchhikers. While this rule may be showing some results, it's hard to say if it will be enough to prevent future unwanted species from colonizing the lakes.

New York, Michigan and Wisconsin have passed their own ballast rules, but what's needed is a national standard. Unfortunately, Congress has declined to pass such a rule. And, even under President Barack Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken no action to stiffen ballast discharge regulations. That must change.

The administration is advocating a "Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," which would pay for cleanup of toxic pollution, restoration of wetlands and research on combating invasive species already in the lakes. Certainly, restoration is needed. But does it make sense to spend billions of dollars on restoration if infestation is likely to continue? This is beyond crisis stage. And, frankly, we Midwesterners are feeling ignored.

87 Posts
""The federal government, the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers has been very unresponsive to this issue, creating, in effect, a superhighway for invasive species (entering Illinois from the Mississippi River). We need to come up with real long-term solutions to fix this."

The Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers should be responsible for this and they should be the one to find for a solutions in the problem.

Polka Pansy Scrub Top

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Young zebra mussel found in North Dakota, in Red River in Wahpeton area
2 July 2010

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) - A young zebra mussel, considered a nuisance species in the Great Lakes, has been found in the Red River, between Wahpeton and neighboring Breckenridge, Minn., North Dakota wildlife officials said Thursday.

Officials say the mussels first infested the Great Lakes two decades ago. They have been found in other states and officials had been bracing for the species to surface in North Dakota.

"We are disappointed but not surprised that zebra mussels have entered the Red River," said Lynn Schlueter, the state Game and Fish Department's aquatic nuisance species coordinator.

"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found them in the Red River watershed in the Pelican Lake chain well upstream of Wahpeton-Breckenridge last fall. And again this spring new mussel infestations were documented in Minnesota upstream of the Red River, including in Lake Lizzie," Schlueter said.

Zebra mussels are a nuisance because they compete with native species, clog water intakes and sink docks and buoys with their weight.

What was discovered in the Wahpeton area is known as a veliger -- a microscopic free-swimming zebra mussel that can float for weeks before eventually attaching to something and growing into a dime-size mussel. Once they are established they reproduce rapidly, with one female producing up to 1 million eggs a season, according to Game and Fish.

Wildlife officials plan to continue monitoring of the Red River for adult zebra mussels.

Laws already are in place in North Dakota to prevent the spread of nuisance water species. They include such requirements as cleaning boats before moving them.

"Zebra mussels, like most aquatic nuisance species, are extremely difficult and costly to eliminate once they are established, but what we can do is minimize the potential for people to transport them elsewhere," Schlueter said.



Zebra mussel sites:

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Protecting our great lakes from living pollution
20 April 2011
National Post

The Great Lakes, home to one fifth of the world's fresh surface water, a reintrouble.

The lakes cover more than 244,000 square kilometres and provide 84 percent of the surface water supply for North America-yet a growing community of environmentalists say the Great Lakes are greatly neglected.

"We don't do a very good job of recognizing the economic value of a great lake system," says Tony Maas, World Wildlife Foundation Canada's freshwater director."But there's tremendous value of it staying in place and having a healthy working water system."


Maas notes that one of the gravest threats facing the great lakes is invasive alien species. The Asian carp is one of those species,according to Jennifer Nalbone, director of navigation and invasive species for Great Lakes United.

The family of fish was originally imported to keep water waysclean.

"The problem in the that they got out of whatever water way they were imported to clean and started to reproduce rapidly," she says. "Within four decades they spread like wildfire and they're just miles away from invading the Great Lakes."

In addition to upsetting ecosystems, the 100-pound carp have also been known to leap out of agitated waters and injured boaters and water skiers.

But Nalbone says Canada has its own invasive species.

"A lot of species are brought in passively-they hitchhike on international commercial ships," says Nalbone."The poster species of hitchhiking are the zebra mussel and quagga mussel."

The mussels can blanket the bottom of lakes,starving the existing systems and all it takes to expand the species is a few stragglers on the bottom of a recreational boat.

"And they don't just have incredible impacts to the ecosystem,they cause a tremendous amount of economic damage,"she says.

"Invasive species are living pollution,says Nalbone. "Living pollution doesn't dilute-it's a problem we have to deal with over along period of time if not forever."


Mark Mattson, president of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, is charged with collecting data on Toronto's great lake-Lake Ontario.

"The biggest threat is the lack of enforcement of environmental laws," says Mattson. "The public has been disenfranchised from the issues."

We just don't know what might hurt us or what's going on," he adds.

According to Mattson, in failing to recognize that what flows down the storm drains, flows into Lake Ontario-as a result, we are rapidly disrupting the balance in the ecosystem.

An ecosystem, Mattson notes, that has a serious effect on Lake Ontario communities.

"This is their environment, this is their Riviera, this is where they take their kids to experience one of the great lakes of the world," says Mattson.

But Toronto's ability to swim in Lake Ontario is rapidly slipping away.

"Our generation might have lost that privilege," he says.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Zebra mussels invade more Northern Ireland lakes
1 October 2011 Last updated at 11:08 GMT
BBC Excerpt

Invasive zebra mussels have been found in another seven lakes in Northern Ireland.

The discovery brings the number of lakes or waterways in Northern Ireland known to have been invaded by the damaging alien species to 12.

The latest sites are all satellite lakes around the Erne waterway.

Lough Erne was one of the first to be infected by the mussels and it was inevitable that nearby lakes would eventually succumb.


The mussels out-compete the local swan and duck mussels leading to their extinction.

They also filter the water very effectively, making it so clear that plant growth increases dramatically choking the waterway.

Lakes invaded by zebra mussels

* Abacon Lough 

* Derrymacrow Lough 

* Kilturk Lough 

* Castle Lough 

* Derrykerrib Lough
* Derrysteaton Lough
Lough Keenaghan 

* Lough Erne 

* Carron Lough (Derrygonnelly) 

* Lough Neagh 

* Lough Bresk 

* Lower Lough MacNean

The clear water also encourages toxic algal blooms and whole fish populations can change or even disappear because the mussels have altered the food chain.

The blocking of waterways and the loss of fish can also have a serious effect on tourism.

Another problem is caused by the sheer mass of the zebra mussels.

They can block the pipes of water intakes on boats and shore structures causing machinery failure. The cost of their removal can be considerable and is usually very difficult.

John Early of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) said: "Zebra mussels, which are native to the lakes of south east Russia, can attach themselves to any hard surface such as boats, buoys and water intake pipes, where they can form very dense clusters".

"Zebra mussels have spread to a number of unconnected lakes since their first arrival in the Erne system in the mid 1990s.


142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ontario to attack $100M invasive species problem
Wed, 4 Jul, 2012

Ontario is launching a new attack on invasive species.

Insects and fish not native to the province take over habitat, threatening both the environment and the economy.

Whether it's zebra mussels clogging municipal water pipes or the emerald ash borer destroying city-owned trees, invasive species cost Ontario taxpayers upwards of a $100 million each year. That doesn't count the impact species have on farming, forestry and fisheries.

"We need to do what we can to reduce the harmful impact of the existing species and to roll back the damage that's already been done with those that are in place," said Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle.

So, the provincial government is unveiling a new strategic plan for tackling invasive species. It talks of strengthening laws, improving scientific research and beefing up enforcement. The goal is to prevent invasive species from arriving in Ontario and then to respond rapidly if they do.

John Urquhart is with the conservation group Ontario Nature. He called the plan "a well-thought-out, well-researched, scientifically-valid plan."

The plan calls for better communication and co-ordination among federal, provincial and municipal governments that have a role to play in combating invasive species.

It also says the province should build networks with conservation authorities, aboriginal groups and neighbouring U.S. states that are also fighting invasive species.

The document says Ontario has historically had more invasive species than other provinces and is therefore at a higher risk of having non-native species than other regions in Canada.

Urquhart is concerned recent provincial and federal budget cuts will stop the plan from becoming a reality.

The cost to implement the plan wasn't reported.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Property values rise on zebra-mussel infested lakes, study shows
20 March 2014
The Hamilton Spectator

Nobody wants to see lakes infested with zebra mussels. The little clam-like creatures have a reputation for prolific growth and upending the waters they invade.

But from a strictly economic perspective, could their presence and their ability to improve water clarity actually boost the value of shoreline property?

A University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh economics student spent two years researching the relationship between zebra mussels and property values and came to a counterintuitive conclusion: The value of lakefront properties in central and northern Wisconsin with the invasive mollusks actually increased, compared to properties where mussels are not found.

Martin Meder, 27, is a senior who will graduate this spring. His analysis of real estate on lakes in 17 counties showed that prices rose 10 percent on lakes that have zebra mussels. By contrast, sale prices fell by 4.5 percent where another invasive species, Eurasian water-milfoil, was present.

Meder, who plans to study economics in graduate school, was in Madison, Wis., last week where 150 undergraduate students in the UW System shared findings of their individual research projects in the Capitol rotunda. The event was the 11th annual "Posters in the Rotunda," which highlights original undergraduate research.

"Zebra mussels are bad," Meder said in a phone interview after returning to Oshkosh. "It's just that in some cases they do things that people like and people are willing to pay more money for it."

Zebra mussels, native to the Black and Caspian seas, first turned up in the Great Lakes in the ballast of ocean ships in 1988. A single mussel, the size of thumbnail, can filter a liter of water in a day. The ability to siphon and strip water of phytoplankton and other suspended material can rob a lake, river or stream of critical nutrients.

Zebra mussel populations can multiply quickly and blanket areas they invade. The annual cost of keeping water intake systems free of the mussels is about $250 million in the Great Lakes region, according to the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

Zebra mussels also have been tied to outbreaks of toxin-producing blue-green algae. Swimmers are known to cut their feet on the shells. And along Lake Michigan, zebra mussels play a role in making many beaches smelly and unwelcoming because they spur the growth of a type of algae known as Cladophora, which washes ashore with the mussels and other organic material and rots.

But zebra mussels' filtering ability also produces an undeniable result: It improves water clarity. Also, some fish species, such as smallmouth bass, have benefited when the mussel is present, since clearer water spurs the growth of weedy plants favored by some fish.

It's these attributes-clearer water and bass-friendly-that Meder believes has had a positive effect on some lakeside properties.

By contrast, Eurasian water-milfoil doesn't have such qualities. The plant can grow 30 feet and forms dense mats on the surface of the water.

"We know if we look at milfoil, everyone knows it ugly and a problem," said Marianne Johnson, an economist and business professor at UW-Oshkosh who oversaw Meder's project.

When it comes to zebra mussels, "the really bad things you can't see," Meder said.

He began the project after reading about concerns that zebra mussels harmed property values, but discovering there was little research on the topic. He did find, however, that previous studies showed property values were negatively affected by Eurasian water-milfoil.

To measure the value of lakefront properties, Meder used a statistical tool known as regression analysis that breaks down sundry factors including price, location, lot size, the presence of zebra mussels and other variables. Each factor can then be calculated separately.

For his research, he examined state records of 1,072 property transactions on 413 lakes between July 2009 and December 2011. Starting on July 1, 2009, all real estate transactions were filed electronically with the state Department of Revenue through its Integrated Property Assessment System.

When he discussed his research at the Capitol last week, Meder said some people were confused by the outcome; others thought Meder was hawking a pro-zebra mussel agenda.

"It was rough," he said.

Michael Engleson, interim executive director of the Wisconsin Lakes, a state lake association, said he was not surprised by such a reaction, because the DNR and local lake chapters have waged a public education campaign for years to stop the spread of invasive species.

"In some respects, it seems counterintuitive, but I'm not terribly surprised by the study," he said.

"Zebra mussels really do clear out the water," said Engleson, though he wondered about the longer-term effects on property values.

Zebra mussels began infiltrating Wisconsin's inland lakes by 1994, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Today, they're found in 161 lakes and rivers in Wisconsin.

Engleson said Meder's paper shares some parallels with other studies that show that improved water quality can be a boost to the value of lakefront property. He cited a 2003 paper by Bemidji State University researchers for the Mississippi Headwaters Board in Minnesota. The paper, using the same kind of statistical analysis, looked at 37 lakes in the headwaters of the Mississippi and found that buyers paid more for properties with higher water clarity.

Jake Vander Zanden, a lake scientist at UW-Madison, said Meder's use of regression analysis is also a common tool of scientists who study inland waters.

"I think it's a really cool question," said Vander Zanden, who studies the effects of invasive species.

He noted, however, that zebra mussels are not as widespread in some portions of northern Wisconsin as in the central part of the state.

Also, he said that smaller inland lakes might not experience the same level of problems with Cladophora as Lake Michigan. And in smaller lakes, the relationship between zebra mussels and smallmouth bass populations hasn't been well researched.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
New regulation targets latch-happy zebra mussels
5 July 2014

CONROE, Texas (AP) — Monica McGarrity is lying face down at the end of a wood dock at a Lake Conroe marina, dipping a microphone-like device into the water to collect samples and deploying a net that resembles an airfield windsock to gather microscopic particles.

She hopes she doesn't find what she's looking for.

"Wish me bad luck," laughs McGarrity, an aquatic invasive species biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

She's one of two biologists canvassing about three dozen Texas lakes for signs of zebra mussels, an invasive shellfish that's steadily advancing across much of the central and eastern United States and now with a foothold in Texas.

Besides upsetting Mother Nature's balance, the mussels are affecting infrastructure and now changing the way Texans play with their water toys.

Beginning July 1, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission expanded a requirement to all Texas lakes and rivers: People leaving or approaching public water must drain all water from their vessels and on-board receptacles, rinse them and dry them. It applies to all types and sizes of boats, personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks, canoes or any other vessel.

The zebra mussels — sharp fingernail-size shells with stripes — attach and multiply on nearly everything from old soda cans, the underside of docks and boats to the inside of pipelines carrying fresh water to utilities, power plants or agriculture.

"More or less, once they attach, that's it," McGarrity said. "Then they filter, filter, filter. All of the stuff I'm catching here. They filter away and that's how they make the water more clear. They're eating all the nutrients that the fish eat."

The clearer water lets in additional sunlight, allowing undesirable plants to thrive and alter the food chain. That depletes the native fish population.

Their razor-like shells also can make beaches treacherous and less attractive for visitors, hurting local economies.

Recreational water users say the new regulations are likely to be an inconvenience but worth it to protect the lakes.

"People may just have to accept it and take on the responsibility," Terry Finley, 64, of Montgomery, said as he filled his WaveRunner with gasoline for a day on Lake Conroe.

The cleaning is intended to remove traces of zebra mussels and keep them from being transferred to another body of water.

"Once they're in, it doesn't take long," said Robert McMahon, a University of Texas at Arlington biology professor who's studied the critters for years. "I don't want to be saying it's doomsday. It's just they're economic and ecological pests. They plug up water works and that can cost millions."

That's what happened in Lake Texoma, where Parks and Wildlife officials announced in 2009 the first confirmation of a living zebra mussel in Texas. At the 89,000-acre reservoir providing water to North Texas residents, a $300 million project designed to fix damage from clogged pipelines and keep the zebra mussel from spreading was finished in May.

The mussels moved on anyway, likely hitching rides on boats that hadn't been cleaned properly.

They've since been found in at least four other North Texas lakes, plus Lake Belton in Central Texas, the first of the Brazos River basin lakes.

"They especially like to get into pipes and dark crevices," McGarrity said. "And once they get into pipes, they attach to other shells and completely cover the openings."

A single female can produce a million eggs in a year.

The species came from Ukraine, spread more than a century ago with development of canals in Europe and then is believed to have been introduced to the U.S. in the late 1980s aboard a cargo ship near Detroit.

Texas game wardens will enforce the cleaning rule but "you can't be at every lake every day," Brian Van Zee, regional director of the state wildlife agency, acknowledges. "It's very difficult."

The mussels' steady march south in Texas brought McGarrity to Lake Conroe, one of more than a dozen lakes from Austin to Houston she's testing. Laboratory tests and examination under a microscope eventually will confirm whether Conroe is the species' newest home.

"To our knowledge so far, this lake is not," she said.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Zebra mussels flex reach, threaten northern Lake Winnipeg and Manitoba Hydro stations
1 zebra mussel can produce a million eggs during single spawning season, says Lake Winnipeg Foundation
CBC News Excerpt
May 27, 2018

The zebra mussels that have invaded Lake Winnipeg might actually do some good for the southern end of the lake, but the north basin might not be so lucky — and that means impacts to the fishing industry and Manitoba Hydro, says a research scientist.

Other than a frightful and potentially painful pile of sharp-edged shells washing up in the spring, beachgoers in the south basin of the lake might not even notice much of a change.

"The concerns are all over the map about what's going to happen to the lake. We've heard everything from zebra mussels won't have a big impact on the lake to the lake is dead," said Scott Higgins, research scientist with the International Institute for Sustainable Development's Experimental Lakes Area, southeast of Kenora, Ont.

"I've seen the full range of comments on that. It's obvious there is some uncertainty there."

The invasive species is a filter feeder, sifting large amounts of plankton and other microscopic detritus from the water and devouring that material.

"In many lakes they've shown to clear up particulates in the water, reduce the amount of algae and make water clarity higher," said Higgins, adding that each mussel can filter as much as one litre of water every day.

Multiply that by millions of mussels and that's a big impact.

"In some ways, it's a good thing. Maybe it will reduce algal blooms," Higgins said. "But there's always a concern when mussels are really effective at doing this because algae represents the base of the food web.

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Not enough zebra mussel stations in Manitoba: Anglers
12 June 2019
Winnipeg Free Press

Anglers say there aren't enough zebra mussel decontamination stations, and they aren't open long enough, to keep boats from spreading the invasive species.

Six mobile decontamination units are rotated around the province; this week, they're in Selkirk, Headingley, Mulvill, The Pas, Swan River and Grand Rapids. Schedules are posted a week in advance.

The goal is to clean watercraft before they move between lakes and potentially spread zebra mussels, an invasive species confirmed in Lake Winnipeg in the fall of 2013 and the Red River and Cedar Lake in 2015.

The tiny clam-like bivalves — just one to three centimetres across — can hide in crevices of boats. Their larvae are so tiny, they can't be seen by the naked eye. To stop the spread to uncontaminated waterways, boaters are told to clean, drain and dry all watercraft and equipment, and throw unwanted bait in the garbage before leaving the shoreline.

Donovan Pearase tried to go to the decontamination station in Selkirk around 4 p.m. on Friday and again just before noon on Wednesday. Both times, it was closed — the station opened at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and a provincial official said it closed at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Ideally, he said, stations would be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

More :

142,819 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Prohibited invasive species found in Ramsey County lake
22 August 2019

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says it has found zebra mussels in McCarron Lake in Ramsey County.

The DNR says six zebra mussels were detected by an invasive species expert near the public access and a department survey found an additional half-dozen of the mollusks north and south of the access. Further investigation confirmed a lake-wide zebra mussel presence.

Zebra mussels have been in Minnesota waters for about 10 years. State law requires boaters to clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species, drain all water from boats and dispose of unwanted bait.
1 - 20 of 22 Posts