Land managers at Grand Canyon National Park are nervously bracing for an uninvited guest. The non-native quagga mussel, commonly referred to as zebra mussel, was recently found in Lake Havasu and Lake Mead immediately downstream from Grand Canyon. This invasive aquatic species was previously absent west of the Rocky Mountains, and it is feared that it will migrate throughout the Southwest if intervention fails.
Quagga mussels are known to quickly multiply into the billions once the infestation of a water source has occurred. Their biggest curse lies in their diet. These mussels filter tiny pieces of organic matter and plankton out of the water, thus depriving native fish and other creatures of their primary the food source. Each mature mussel can filter a quart of water per day.
The quagga mussel typically migrates with the unintentional assistance of boaters. Both mature and juvenile mussels (the latter being microscopic) attach themselves to watercraft and are thereby transported to unfamiliar streams, lakes and rivers. The best way to halt the advance of the species is by encouraging boaters to thoroughly clean their hulls and bilges prior to leaving a potentially infected water source.
With the help of the general public there is a fighting chance that these unwelcome guests will be shown the door. Find out what you can do to help by visiting the 100th Meridian website.