Zebra Mussel Management
The experience of other states shows there is no practical method to eradicate zebra mussels once they have become established in a waterbody.
Public education to reduce risk of human caused spread between water bodies is the best defense.
A couple of examples from neighboring states are instructive:
Vermont--Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Champlain in 1992. Since that time, only three other lakes have been infested.
Connecticut--Zebra mussels confirmed East and West Twin Lakes in 1998 and 2001. No other lakes infested in the state.
Both states engaged in education efforts targeted at the various user groups of lakes and ponds to slow the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Help Stop The Spread of Invasive Species
- INSPECT boat, trailer, and other recreational equipment that have been in contact with water.
- REMOVE all mud, plants, or animals.
- DRAIN all bilge water, live wells, bait buckets, and all other water from your boat, engine and equipment.
- WASH all parts of your boat/paddles/other equipment that have been in contact with water. Do not allow wash water to flow into any water body or storm sewer.
- DRY boats and trailers in sun for FIVE days before launching
into another waterbody.
CHRONOLOGY OF MANAGEMENT EFFORTS
April 7, 2010--Public Forum to Discuss Reccomendations
The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is sponsoring a public forum on April 7, 2010, from 6-8 pm at the Crosby Elementary School, 517 West Street in Pittsfield, to discuss recommendations by the Zebra Mussel Task Force (ZMTF) for reducing the risk of zebra mussel infestations in bodies of water at risk for infestation. This forum will also be an opportunity for interested members of the public to ask questions about implementation and next steps. More information.
August 17--Interim Management Action Plan Released
On August 17, 2009 the DCR and DFG released an Interim Management Plan. See the DFG page on this information.
JULY 28, 2009--MANAGEMENT EFFORTS
Several state agencies and offices are engaging in zebra mussel management efforts.
Boat Ramp Regulations (Office of Fishing & Boating Access)
In the short term, under authority granted the Director of the Office of Fishing and Boating Access (OFBA) 320 CMR 2:02:4- Emergency Management Measures were established and filed with the Secretary of State on July 8th, 10th and 24th. These measures cannot extend beyond 45 days.
These emergency management measures closed the boat ramp at Laurel Lake in Lee and allowed the managing authorities at lakes and ponds in Berkshire County, determined by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to have calcium concentrations and other chemical and physical characteristics appropriate enough to support breeding populations of zebra mussels, to refuse use of a boat ramp to any watercraft the manager determines has been on Laurel Lake or any other water body known to contain zebra or quagga mussels, within the last 30 days, unless such boat has since been subject to cleaning and disinfection measures as described in said emergency management measure.
The manager may also when other invasive aquatic species are visible on any watercraft, refuse use of the boat ramp until said invasive aquatic species have been completely removed to the satisfaction of the managing authority.
As provided in 320 CMR 2.02(4), OFBA will comply with the procedures for public notice and public comment in 320 CMR 2.02(3) if this emergency management measure extends beyond 45 days.
Boat Ramp Monitors in the Berkshires (Dept. of Conservation & Recreation)
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)Lakes and Pond Program has an established Boat Ramp Monitor Program from Memorial Day to Labor Day to inspect for aquatic invasive species. Monitors conduct voluntary inspections and provide educational materials on how to inspect and clean boats, trailers and gear. Boat ramp monitors are stationed at ramps on Laurel Lake, Stockbridge Bowl, Onota Lake, Pontoosuc Lake, Richmond Pond, and Cheshire Reservoir.
Boat Ramp Signage
All Public Access Boat Ramps have been or are being posted with the state's red and white metal sign: "Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Plants and Animals" which provides guidance to boaters and contact information.
In addition, areas considered to be at high risk for zebra mussel colonization due to water chemistry and proximity to the Laurel Lake infestation have been or are being posted with Zebra Mussel- specific signs which provide guidance to boaters on how to clean their boats and gear, and contact information.
Signs can be downloaded at DCR's Lakes and Ponds website.
Zebra Mussel Monitoring and Water Quality Surveys
DCR established a Zebra and Quagga Mussel Monitoring Program to monitor high priority water bodies of western Massachusetts which are at greater risk of establishment due to the region's water chemistry and geographic location of known infestations. The program provides equipment and training on collection and ID of samples to citizen volunteers. In addition, the Lakes and Ponds Program developed and posted new boat ramp signs, a tri-fold brochure, and other educational materials.
In August, 2009 DCR will hire a contractor to conduct additional surveys to:
a) Document the presence or absence of zebra mussels in specified MA water bodies that are expected to be at high risk for colonization based on water chemistry and/or proximity to infested waters, and
b) Conduct water quality sampling for parameters that favor zebra mussel development and create a database for a subset of Berkshire lakes.
Public Outreach/Education Efforts
Workshops on Proper Boat Cleaning Procedures
At a minimum, DCR Lakes and Ponds staff will be providing training to the following groups:
DCR park staff
The Lake and Pond Association of Western Mass (LAPA West) Annual Symposium, September 2009
The Congress of Lake and Pond Associations (COLAP) Annual Workshop, January 2010
Citizens attending DCR's Weed Watcher Classes throughout the summer
The above information was derived from a review and subsequent presentation by DFW staff about zebra mussels made at a Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting on July 28, 2009.