Zebra Mussels as Environmental Invaders Essay

Zebra Mussels are freshwater mollusks now found in the lakes and river of North America. “Biologists believe the zebra mussels were picked up in a freshwater European port in the ballast water of a ship and were later discharged into the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair” (Nationalatlas. gov, 2008) . The natural tendency of the mussels to reproduce and its ability to attach in any marine surface or structure causes a lot of expensive problems.

Among the significant problems created by the characteristics of these mussels include the blocking of pipes that deliver drinking and processed water to cities and cooling water to power plants (Environment News Service, 2009).

The mussels are also known to cling to boats, bouys, docks, and other marine structures which contribute to the deterioration of and damage to these equipments. The primary control mechanism for the infestation of these mollusks is physical removal from the affected equipment.

Physical barriers are also used. Poisons are not used because these mussels are highly tolerant and a lot of other species will perish, even before the mussels are affected.

Chemical coatings of pipes and filtration of vital waterways are also included in the control systems. The continued presence of the Zebra Mussels will surely increase the cost of maintenance of water structures that is used for recreation and industry. Delivery of power to households will cost higher.

Prevention is still the best control measure communities must adopt for this particular invasion because of the tenacity of the species involved. Since it has been established that this particular invasion occurred thru sea navigation and trade routes, it is very important to solicit international cooperation for the creation and implementation of guidelines to control the spread of the species and protect unaffected areas.

References

Environment News Service , (23, April 2009) Risk Guide Fights Back Against Costly Aquatic Invaders. Retrieved May 15, 2009, from http://www. ens-newswire. com/ens/apr2009/ 2009-04-23-091. asp Nationalatlas. gov, (8, October 2008) Zebra Mussels. Retrieved May 15, 2009, from http://nationalatlas. gov/articles/biology/a_zm. html

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