Zebra Mussels in IA Great Lakes

Spirit Lake, IA (KICD)–Dozens of juvenile zebra mussels have shown up attached to boat hoists removed this fall from East Okoboji, West Okoboji and Lower Gar lakes.

Fisheries Biologist Mike Hawkins with the Iowa DNR tells KICD News that this is not unexpected given the discovery of four juvenile zebra mussels in East Okoboji and Upper Gar Lake last fall.

Hawkins says that around 90 percent of the hoists in the vicinity of the south end of East Okoboji Lake had zebra mussels on them.  4 of 12 hoists on West Okoboji Lake had the invasive species on them.

The zebra mussels Hawkins has found range from an eighth to a quarter of an inch with the largest one measuring a half inch.

Hawkins says to expect a rapid explosion of the species in the next few years.  The zebra mussels are plankton feeders who filter large quantities of water and may actually improve water clarity, although the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Zebra mussels also attach to water intakes and pipes of power plants and water supply facilities causing damage.

There is no known treatment to completely eradicated zebra mussels from the lake.