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Zebra Mussels Infestation in Storm Lake Expected to Worsen

September 10, 2020 9:05am

DNR Fisheries Biologist Ben Wallace expects the infestation of zebra mussels in Storm Lake to get worse.

Wallace said typically when there is a new infestation of an invasive species, there is an exponential growth in their population.  He said at some point, they will peak out and crash a bit.  Ducks and certain fish species will eat zebra mussels, but not to the point where they can control them. 

Wallace said zebra mussels tend to die off in the winter, so there won't be many close to the shore. He said zebra mussels attach to hard structures. They have a life expectancy of only two years, but they are very prolific. More zebra mussel shells are expected to wash up on Storm Lake shores.

Wallace said there's an expensive product used to eradicate zebra mussels at pipe intakes, but there's currently no good solutions for large open-water systems.

Wallace said zebra mussels are having a big impact across the United States, but most lakes in Iowa don't have them.

The DNR confirmed that zebra mussels were in Storm Lake back in 2018. Large infestations may interfere with aquatic food chains, kill native mussels, clog water intakes, increase algae blooms, and cover beaches with dead shells.