In addition to honoring the sacrifice of soldiers, Memorial Day weekend often marks the unofficial beginning to summer – which, for many, means spending time on Missouri’s lakes and rivers.
But there’s a tiny invasive species that threatens the health of our state’s waters, and boats, motors, and trailers pose a great risk for spreading them.
This week on Discover Nature, learn how Missouri boaters can help slow the spread of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha).
These invasive exotic organisms are native to Asia, and were accidentally introduced to North America via international ships. They have tremendous reproductive capabilities and have a huge negative impact on the waters they infest by starving and suffocating native plants and animals.
About the size of a fingernail, zebra mussels are thin-shelled, triangular, and usually striped with light and dark bands. They attach to nearly any solid surface and often clump together.
When recreating on Missouri’s waters, always clean, drain, and dry boats and other gear used in water, after each outing, and dispose of unused bait in the trash.
Learn more about the great risk zebra mussels pose to Missouri’s aquatic ecosystems, and how you can help slow their spread with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide, and wildlife nuisance page.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.