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Zebra Mussel Facts

 

In 2015, zebra mussels were found in Lewis and Clark Reservoir in southeastern South Dakota and have since spread to nearby McCook Lake as well.

Since then, this invader has spread rapidly.  While you can still enjoy the beauty and water recreation on Lewis and Clark and McCook Lake, here are a few things you need to be aware of in regards to zebra mussels.

  • The zebra mussel population in Lewis and Clark is expected to grow significantly through the summer of 2017.
  • The largest number of mussels will be found in depths shallower than 10 feet.
  • In some areas of the US, mussel densities have reached 700,000 individuals per square meter.
  • Mussels typically attach firmly to hard surfaces such as rocks and pipes, however dead shells will wash up on shore…sometimes in great numbers
  • Mussel shells are extremely sharp and can easily cut human feet, legs and hands as well as the pads on dogs’ paws.
  • Beaches with zebra mussel shells pose no higher disease or pollution concerns than other beaches and the water is still safe for swimming.
  • To avoid injury, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks suggests that users who plan to enjoy the beaches at Lewis and Clark wear water socks, swim shoes or sandals to prevent contact with shells.

Stay educated, stay informed and help current