In their continued effort to keep the Lakes community informed of Aquatic Invasive Species, the Iowa Great Lakes Association (IGLA) hosted zebra mussel expert and research scientist, Dr. Daniel Molloy in Okoboji on September 11 and 12. Dr. Molloy, the patent inventor of Zequanox, spent two days in meetings with representatives from the Iowa Department of Resources, area lakes protective associations, and the community. Additionally, he worked with DNR fisheries staff and local divers to carry out an underwater assessment looking for evidence of juvenile and adult zebra mussels in the Iowa Great Lakes.
Over two chilly mornings, Molloy and others hunted for the mussels in various locations across West Lake and East Lake Okoboji. Since zebra mussels were first discovered in the area late in 2012, an explosion in numbers would not have been unexpected this summer. The typical lag time between detection and exponential growth with this species is 2.5 years. Molloy was “surprised,” though, to encounter only several dozen mussels during the team’s explorations. While the small concentrations may have been good news, the unfortunate finding was that the zebra mussels were wide spread across both lakes. This dispersed distribution would make eradicating them with a biopesticide such as Zequanox virtually impossible according to Molloy.
Dr. Molloy concluded his visit to the Iowa Great Lakes with a public meeting at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory on the afternoon of September 12. Approximately, 75 citizens turned out to hear Molloy speak about the characteristics and effects of zebra mussels as well as share findings from his local snorkeling survey. After the general meeting, he stayed to answer individual questions regarding the invasive species before leaving the Lakes area.
The IGLA will continue to pursue the latest news and data on aquatic invasive species and other area environmental concerns in order to help the Lakes community stay well-informed.