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Zebra Mussel Elimination | Midco Diving & Marine Services

First discovered in North American waters in 1988, the zebra mussel along with its close relative, the quagga mussel, have been the source of a nationwide invasion of US lakes and rivers leaving behind a wake of damage and destruction in their path. While the zebra mussel is relatively small in comparison to other mussels (about the size of a fingernail), what this invasive species lacks in size it makes up for in numbers. Native to the Black & Caspian Sea region, it is believed that zebra mussel made its way to North America in the ballast water of ocean ships travelling through the Great Lakes chain of waterways. Zebra mussels are extremely resilient by nature and can survive a wide range of environmental conditions, including surviving out of water for several days under the right conditions.  In addition to their strong survival skills, these mussels are also capable of rapid reproduction with a single female mussel producing up to one million eggs per year. These characteristics along with the zebra mussels’ aggressive ability to colonize have made the zebra mussel of the most destructive invasive species in the world.

Once mussels are introduced into a new water system they can quickly begin to cause substantial damage to the surrounding ecosystem.  Zebra mussels are filter-feeders capable of filtering over a quart of water per day and large scale infestations are actually capable of over-filtering a body of water which can cause unbalance in the ecosystem and lead to bacteria and algae blooms. Zebra mussels also cause harm to populations of native species as they compete for food sources and have been known to actively colonize on top of other freshwater mussel and clam species as well as attach themselves directly to the body and shells of crayfish and turtles.

In addition to the natural damages caused by zebra mussels, this species is also responsible for millions of dollars in structural damages and repairs each year. The rapid colonization of mussels can occur on nearly any solid surface beneath the water including docks, boat hulls, and water markers, but the areas of greatest concern involve colonies near water intakes, water treatment facilities, and hydropower facilities. When mussel colonies form near water facilities they can quickly clog pipes and restrict water flow through intakes resulting in costly damages and repairs.

Each year reports of zebra mussels continue to spread to new regions and bodies and water. The best way to stay ahead of the problem is through regular monitoring and control in order to catch the situation early and to counteract the effects of invasive colonization.  Properly addressing zebra mussel invasion and colonization can prevent the ongoing accrual of damage and expense and is best mitigated with the expertise of a trained and certified commercial dive company.

Our commercial dive teams perform onsite zebra mussel removal and control. We employ professionally trained and certified divers with an extensive background in the removal of this invasive species. Varying levels of colonization and types of colonized structures call for a wide range of elimination methods. Our team specializes in the removal of zebra mussel colonies by way of mechanical scrapers, high pressure water, and cavitation blasting. Our dive team and project managers can also work with your engineers to develop and install various chemical feed systems underwater for zebra mussel control.

Remember, the key to preventing a large scale zebra mussel problem is vigilante monitoring with routine inspections and infestation removal of the colonization. If you need assistance assessing the level or impact of a zebra mussel invasion, contact the professional team at Midco Diving and Marine Services today to learn more about our zebra mussel elimination service.