Now that summer is here, many residents and visitors like to spend their time on this State's great waterways. While a recent news article reported the number of zebra mussels has recently declined in nearby Lake George, boaters still need to remember to be careful when they move their boats so that they don’t inadvertently transport zebra mussels and aquatic weeds from one body of water to another.
Zebra mussel larvae can be carried in a boat bilge, live wells and engine cooling systems. Adult and juvenile mussels attach themselves to boat hulls, engine drive units, boat trailers and clumps of vegetation caught on the boat or trailer. If they are not in direct sunlight, zebra mussels can live for several days out of the water.
What this means is that zebra mussels can hitchhike aboard boats and infest any other waters in which the boat travels. Not only do the zebra mussels create havoc for the boat owners, they reproduce rapidly and overtake the lakes and choke the natural ecosystems. Lake George is trying to prevent them from continuing to invade its waters, especially since the nearby waters of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River are infested. The web site www.lakegeorge.net provides preventive information for boaters and tourists. More detailed information can be found at the website http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov.
Anything short of a full quarantine will not stop the spread of the zebra mussel. It can, however, be slowed in its march across the region.
You can help slow the spread of the zebra mussel and prevent your own equipment from being fouled by checking all equipment and draining all bilge water and live wells before leaving an infested waterway. Thoroughly inspect the boat's hull, out drive, trim plates, trolling plates, prop guards, transducers and trailers. Any zebra mussels that are found should be disposed of away from any body of water. Also, remove all clumps of aquatic vegetation that get caught on the boat or trailer. Boats and trailers should be allowed to dry thoroughly in the sun before being transported to uninfected waterways.
We have many beautiful waterways in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Let's try to keep them that way by keeping them clean of zebra mussels and aquatic weeds.