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Zebra Mussels Reported Below Fort Randall and Gavins Point Dams





Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004
For more information: Jeff Shearer, 773-2743

 

ZEBRA MUSSELS REPORTED BELOW FORT RANDALL AND GAVINS POINT DAMS

PIERRE – State Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) officials say that zebra mussels, an exotic species that has plagued the eastern United States and Great Lakes region since the late 1980s, have recently found their way into the Missouri River of South Dakota.

"The Missouri River Natural Resource Committee contracted a biologist to examine for the presence of zebra mussel adults and veligers (larval form of the zebra mussel) during the summer of 2003," said GFP Aquatic Ecologist Jeff Shearer. "No adult zebra mussels were sampled, but veligers were collected near Niobrara (below Ft. Randall Dam) and near St. Helena (below Gavins Point Dam). The presence of veligers would suggest that adult zebra mussels have become established at or just upstream of these locations."

The presence of zebra mussels in the Missouri River has implications for a wide variety of groups. Resource managers, sportsmen, marina operators, irrigators, and municipalities have the potential to be impacted by the presence of zebra mussels.

According to Shearer, estimates could range from millions to billions of dollars in mitigating and controlling zebra mussels. "From a biological standpoint, zebra mussels have the potential to alter an entire food web by filtering vast quantities of water and blanketing any suitable substrate," he said. "Other associated impacts include clogging of intake pipes and biofouling of shorelines following large die-offs."

Boaters are asked to help control the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species by draining all livewells and bilges before leaving the boat ramp and power washing their boat and trailer before launching into a different body of water. Anyone who suspects they have found zebra mussels is asked to report the location, date, and sample (if possible) to fisheries staff at a regional Game, Fish and Parks office.

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