The Zebra Mussel has already caused economic problems in many of the Great Lakes and more recently has been discovered in Laurel Lake in Massachusetts. They most likely traveled on a boat that came from a body of water that was infested. Environmental officials worry now about the potential for species being wiped out, intake pipes becoming clogged, and the fouling of drinking water. Massachusetts was prepared for the invasion and created a rapid response program in 2005. The program aims to educate local residents, isolate infested areas, and drying and disinfecting boats that are moving to new waterways. They hope to prevent the possibility of an altogether different ecosystem developing where there is infestation.
I personally had heard of the Zebra Mussel when I was back at home. I think public education is one of the most important techniques of prevention. As long as the public is aware of the problem, they can contribute to the process of prevention and if necessary help disinfect the area. I understand that it travels to new areas on boats, but I didn’t find any information on how to get rid of the Zebra Mussels once they have already infected the area. It seems like for now Massachusetts only worries about containing the problem rather than fixing it and I wonder if that is enough or is the wrong decision. I found the article on the Boston Globe website.
(Picture obtained here.)
I agree with you, the focus on most invasive species seems to be finding a way to contain the problem rather than to fix it. One of my family members has a house on one of the Finger Lakes in New York, and zebra mussels are very common there and are becoming quite the nuisance. However, their solution seems to be only to post advisories about wearing water shoes in the lake to avoid cutting your feet on the zebra mussels. It’s nice to be careful, but there must be something proactive that can be done to better the problem.