The Grand River Dam Authority is again reminding boaters and residents about an aquatic nuisance, the zebra mussel. The GRDA says the mussel has been found in Grand and Hudson lakes since 2008, but have been a problem for the nation's waterways since 1988.
They've been dubbed "public enemy number one" on the US Fish and Wildlife Service aquatic nuisance species list.
Zebra mussels are small, thumbnail size mussels with a zebra-like pattern of stripes native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia.
Oklahoma wildlife officials say the mussels are believed to have been transported to the Great Lakes and from there have worked their way down the Mississippi into other waterways.
"Unfortunately, history has shown that once they are in a body of water, there is really no effective means to remove them, and it’s possible that we will see more and more of them in the years ahead," said GRDA Communications Director Justin Alberty.
"However, steps can be taken to prevent their spread, so we want the public to be aware of their presence and some of the issues surrounding the mussels."
Alberty says those steps include:
• Boats should not be left in the water for extended periods of time. With regular use, engine heat should keep mussels from colonizing inside most engine parts.
• Always drain the bilge water, live wells and bait buckets.
• Inspect the boat and trailer immediately upon leaving the water.
• Scrape off any mussels found. Do NOT return them to the water.
• If possible, dry the boat and trailer for at least a week before entering another waterway.
• Wash boat parts and accessories that contact the water using hot water (at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit), a ten percent solution of household chlorine bleach or a hot saltwater solution. Do not wash the boat at the ramp where these solutions could pollute the water. Always finish with a clean rinse.
For more information on zebra mussels or to report a possible sighting in GRDA waters, contact the GRDA Ecosystems Management Department at 918-782-4726.