The NYS DEC has announced that zebra mussels were discovered in Delta Lake in Rome, NY in January of this year. An investigation and water testing confirmed that zebra mussel larvae are present at the Rome Fish Hatchery whose water is supplied by the Lake.
The Rome Fish Hatchery produces brook, rainbow, and brown trout totaling to nearly 160,000 pounds annually making it one of DEC’s largest hatcheries. The produced fish are used to stock water bodies throughout the region. To limit the spread of the invasive mussels from the hatchery, DEC is only releasing produced fish in waters that currently have zebra mussels and taking other precautions to prevent future incidents from occurring. Short and long term strategies are being developed to prevent the spread while also maximizing stocking production. Learn more about these efforts by the NYS DEC.
Zebra mussels have been present in New York waters since the 1980s; they are a fingernail-sized invasive mollusk native to Eurasian freshwaters. They have a dark zig-zagged stripe on their shell which gives zebra mussels their name. Zebra mussels disrupt the food web as they filter out algae that native species need for food, in addition, they attach to and smother native mussels and clog water intakes costing the state millions to manage. Like many aquatic invasive species, zebra mussels were introduced to the Great Lakes through ballast water discharged by large ships from Europe and are easily spread by recreational water vehicles. State regulations are in place that requires boaters and other water recreationists to take action and clean, drain & dry their watercrafts before entering and leaving a waterbody. For more information about state regulations and suggested spread prevention methods visit the DEC website.
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About the image: Photo of adult invasive mussels from Lake Ontario. 2018 Brittney Rogers