Scientist Introduces Product To Help Solve Zebra Mussel Problem In Great Lakes Area

Story from ABC Channel 9 News

These aren’t the mussels you get at restaurants. They’re another kind that aren’t so friendly.

“They’re very, very spread out. It’s not like you can just eradicate them because they’re too distant from each other,” said Dr. Daniel Malloy, Research Scientist. Malloy is referring to tiny creatures called zebra mussels. They’re miniscule in size, but very harmful to people, fish and water.

“If you step on these mussles, they’ll cut your feet. They’ll change the ecology of the lake. That’s assuming they’ll jump in high numbers, so you’ll have more weeds growing, you’ll have changes in fish population,” said Malloy.  The mussels attach themselves to boats and are transported from one body of water to another, and have now arrived at Iowa’s great lakes.

A lot of zebra mussels are the size of a finger nail, but if they multiply, it could be very dangerous.

“A lot of the communities here take water out of the lakes and when those intakes become clogged by these zebra mussels which could muiltply dramatically as was pointed out in previous meetings, that could cause a problem,” said David Johnson, State Representative – Great Lakes Area.  That’s why Dr. Daniel Malloy is bringing in a product called zequanox .  It’s a combination of dead bacteria and water that he says killes the mussels off.  It’s currenlty being tested out at Lake Christmas in Minnesota.  At a meeting Friday afternoon, Malloy pitched his product to folks in Okoboji. Though he says it won’t be harfmul, folks still have their concerns.

“The zequanox would be pretty expensive to apply to the Iowa great lakes,” said Phil Peterson. “We don’t have any problems with zequanox at all, just the expense of it,” said Bill Maas, Mayor of Orleans, IA. It’s too early to tell how much it will cost, and some folks say it may not be worth the hassle, but Dr. Malloy says it’s best to get rid of them while you can.