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Quagga and Zebra Mussels for Dummies, why should I care?

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Why should you care about zebra and quagga mussels? There are many reasons. The first of which is that there is no way to eradicate them once they are established and are very easily spread from one body of water to another. They breed quickly and change the ecosystem of whatever water body they are in. This means that they take food away from natural species there which may affect those animals health and nutrition. This in turn affects other things such as the amount and growth of algae in the water. Who wants to go to a lake with a huge sludge of green or brown algae everywhere? They love to attach to any hard or semi hard surfaces. Everything gets covered; rocks along the beach, piers, buoys, pipes, propellers….and anything else you can think of can be covered with these mussels. Once the mussels get into a space such as a pipe, they continue to congregate there. Eventually, they will restrict the flow through this pipe. If this is a pipe going to an engine, it is more likely to over heat. If this is a pipe delivering water, the water district will have to pay someone to clean out the pipes often and you the water consumer will be charged extra. If you are a boater that travels from lake to lake, you are going to be subject to expensive inspection and decontamination processes before you are allowed to launch. Once they die, they leave behind a very sharp small shell. These shells litter the beaches and will cut the feet of anyone barefoot and of course our dog friends running along the beach. So you should care and you should do your part to make sure that they are not spread from infested lakes to non infested lakes.

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