Zebra mussels have made their way north and were found around Rouse’s Point this summer. Divers servicing moorings in the Broad Lake this fall have reported chains and mooring balls being covered with the mollusks. A photo story in the October 28 edition of the Burlington Free Press shows them covering the bottom of the docks around the Community Boat house when they were hauled for the winter.
Zebra mussels were first noticed in Lake Champlain only three summers ago. A young fisherman in the southern end of the Lake found one attached to an old brick that he had picked up.
The mussels are a threat to water systems that draw water form the Lake either for cooling or for consumption. In those situations, they can be controlled by filters that prevent their entry. They are also a threat to inboard engine cooling systems for the same reason. Control in this situation is not yet so easy.
The mussels can also cover the shipwrecks on the bottom of the Lake. A heavy coating of zebra mussels will obscure the details of the shipwreck and greatly reduce its historical information. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has received a substantial federal grant, through the efforts of Senator Leahy, to study prevention measures for the mussels in order to preserve their historic value.
If you want more information about zebra mussels, there will be a program on Sunday afternoon, January 28, 1996, at 1300 at the Lake Champlain Basin Science Center on the Burlington waterfront. Madeleine Lyttle and Mike Hauser will present “The Mussel Sagas on Lake Champlain — zebras vs. natives”.