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Rooting Out Zebra Mussels to Prevent Infestation of Candlewood

Check out the hideaways that can host Zebra Mussels.

This is the next in a series of articles by various parties concerned about the threat posed by zebra mussels and what residents and users must do to prevent their entry into Candlewood Lake and other un-infested waters.

As a general guide, essentially everything that has come into contact with waters known to have or suspected of having zebra mussels can be a carrier of these invasive invertebrates. This means all types of watercraft and associated equipment need to be inspected, then cleaned, drained and dried or otherwise decontaminated before their use in “clean waters.”

This is made particularly difficult because the juvenile zebra mussels cannot be seen by the eye, and the youth and adult stages can affix themselves in hard-to-access cavities as well as on visible surfaces. Accordingly, all boaters need to be particularly vigilant when performing essential inspection, cleaning and decontamination steps to ensure all mussels have been removed or otherwise killed. Protocols for performing these tasks are being disseminated by the CLA Zebra Mussel Task Force. In addition, a guide to cleaning boats with specific instructions by boat type will be available in coming weeks.

In advance, the table below lists the various types of watercraft, transport vehicles and associated equipment and gear that can serve as common carriers of zebra mussels and the corresponding components that warrant particular attention. Note the lists are extensive — basically all-encompassing — because the threat can be carried on virtually any surface or component as well as in water containers such as bilges and bait buckets, even deck mats and on household pets exposed to infested waters. 

So consider saving this listing as a reminder of the variety of vessel types and nooks where zebra mussels might affix themselves and perhaps congregate out of sight — but let them not be out of mind this spring and summer.

Our collective commitment must be “zero zebras” — preventing their hitchhiking on our watercraft and related equipment. Or, perhaps better yet, consider not even giving them the opportunity to hitch by modifying boating patterns to avoid any and all waters known or suspected of harboring these highly prolific invaders. 

For a current listing of contaminated waters, and an excellent video entitled “Don’t Move a Mussel,” refer to Candlewood Lake United’s site on Facebook.

Vessel/Equipment Types Partial List of Components Requiring Attention

All Watercraft

- Power Boats

- Fishing & Bass Boats

- Water Ski Boats

- Pontoon Boats

- Dinghies & Rowboats

- Sailboats

- Personal Watercraft

- Kayaks, Canoes

- Inflatables, Rafts, Tubes

All surfaces of vessel: entire hull, deck, transom wall, motor, motor cooling system, live wells, ballast tanks, bladders, bilges, lower outboard units, lights, pilot tubes, depth sounders, trim tabs, depth transducers, water intakes and outlets, propeller, propulsion units, all water systems using lake water (a/c, personal sanitation, wash down systems, if installed), filter screens, pumps, valves, trolling motors, centerboard trunk, rudder, transom, keel and fillings. Trailers & Tow Vehicles

All surfaces in water contact: frame, axels, license plate & holders, lights & wiring, fenders, hangers, tires & wheels, rollers & bunks, springs, pockets & hollow spaces.

All Equipment

- Boating Gear

- Skiing Gear

- Fishing Gear

- Swimming Gear

- Diving & Snorkeling Gear

- Hunting Gear

Life jackets, float cushions, anchors, lines & ropes, fenders, floats, paddles. Water skis, tow ropes, ski gloves. Bait containers/buckets, nets, rods & reels, other fishing equipment. Bathing suits, goggles, masks. Regulators, buoyancy compensation devices, wetsuits, masks, gloves, boots, snorkels. Waterfowl decoys, camouflage blinds. Personal Gear Clothing, footwear, other belongings. Pets If exposed to water. Seaplanes All surfaces in water contact.

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