The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) confirmed that zebra mussels have been found in Lake Housatonic. The adult zebra mussels were found by divers working for Biodrawversity LLC, the consulting firm hired by DEEP to survey for zebra mussels in the Housatonic system and other nearby high calcium content waters. Federal Aquatic Nuisance Species funding was used to fund this survey
The presence of zebra mussels is not unexpected as the mussels were found in Lakes Zoar and Lillinonah, the two large impoundments located immediately upstream of Lake Housatonic in November, 2010. Zebra mussels were first found in the Housatonic River in 2009 when they were discovered in Laurel Lake in Massachusetts and subsequent sampling found them in the lakeís outflow into the mainstem river.
The non-native zebra mussel is a black and white-striped bivalve mollusk that was unintentionally introduced into North American waters through the discharge of ship ballast water. Since its discovery in Lake St.Clair (Michigan/Ontario) in 1988, the zebra mussel has spread throughout theGreat Lakes, the Mississippi River system and most of New York State including Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. More recently, both zebra mussels and quagga mussels (a related species, and also invasive) have been expanding their range into a number of western and southwestern states.
Outreach and Education (properly checking, cleaning boats,gear, etc) are often the most effective tools to control the introduction andspread of zebra mussels and other invasive species. For well over 10 years,education appears to have prevented their spread from the Twin Lakes (Salisbury) to nearby waters suitable for zebra mussels. Since they were first found in East Twin Lake in 1998, information about the presence of zebra mussels has been posted at access points to the two lakes, in DEEPís annual publication for anglers, the CT Angler's Guide, and included in the approved permit packets for fishing tournaments.
Boaters and anglers should follow the following precautions to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, including zebra mussels:
Before leaving a boat launch:
CLEAN: all visible plant, fish, and animals as well as mud or other debris. Do not transport them home.
DRAIN: all water from every space and item that may hold water.
At home or prior to your next launch:
DRY: anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, anchors, propellers, etc) for a minimum of 1 week during hot/dry weather or a minimum of 4 weeks during cool/wet weather.
If drying is not possible, you should clean your boat prior to the next launch.