Invasive Species Prevention
In our world of increaingly easy mobility, the threat of invasive species is ever present. The world is becoming smaller by the day and travel between various locations, including lakes, is common. We like to visit new places and see new things.
Unfortunately, if we're not careful, when we go from one lake to another with our boats, trailers, PWC's, kayaks etc., we risk introducing non-native and invasive species into that body of water.
What's the difference between non-native and invasive species?
A non-native species is something that is introduced either intentionally or accidentally to an area, but does not disrupt the ecosysem or cause environmental harm.
An invasive species is a non-native species (plant or animal) that when introduced will spread and see significant population growth and impact the environment and ecology of the area.
What threats face Candlewood Lake?
Keeping in mind that Candlewood has already been battling an abundant invasvie plant species for decades (Eurasian watermilfoil), the biggest outside threat to Candlewood at the moment may be zebra mussels, with the plants hydrilla and water chestnut of great concern as well having been found recently in nearby waters.
Some nearby waters that already contain zebra mussels are Lakes Zoar and Lillinonah, Lake Housatonic,
the Twin Lakes, the Hudson River, Lake George and Lake Champlain.
What are Zebra Mussels? Zebra mussels are an invasive mollusk, not native to North America. They are usually spread via human activity (boats etc.), have no natural predators here, and can spread rapidly throughout a body of water.
Why should I care? They can have a large impact on a lake and other things associated with a lake.
- Ecosystem: They could change the ecosystem forever. They are filter feeders, filtering water (up to 1 liter per day per mussel), and they feed on the tiny organisms at the bottom of the food chain.
- Personal Property: They can attach themselves to boat hulls and anything with a solid surface, and clog water intakes on engines, small pipes etc.
- Humans: They have sharp shells and can cover rocks on the lake bed among other things, making walking on them dangerous without shoes.
Also, once zebra mussels get established in a lake, there is little that can be done to completely eliminate them. A lake with a hospitable environment can see rapidly increasing numbers of zebra mussels in a short period of time.
What's the risk of infection here? The risk factors are many, however the two primary risk factors are the pH of the water and calcium levels.
Candlewood Lake has a pH level that research says would support a zebra mussel population. Zebra mussels require calcium to build their shells. The calcium levels of Candlewood Lake also suggest that our waters have calcium levels in a high enough concentration to support zebra mussels at some level.
What should you do?
Please be sure you "CLEAN - DRAIN - DRY" your boat, PWC, kayak, and equipment before coming to Candlewood from another body of water, as well as when you leave if you plan on traveling to another lake. Click the link of the videos and on the manuals below for instructions on zebra mussels and how to properly clean your vessel.