The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Old Lyme Conservation Commission and Rogers Lake Authority today announced that training is available for people interested in volunteering their time to monitor their local boat launches for the presence of invasive plants and animals, such as zebra mussels. Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah in 2010 and Lake Housatonic in 2011. This was the first new report of zebra mussels in Connecticut since 1998 when they were discovered in East and West Twin Lakes in Salisbury.
The training will educate volunteers on how to identify and detect invasive species and also to instruct boaters on how to do the same. Volunteers will also be talking to boaters about ways they can prevent the spread of invasive species. Volunteers will receive a handbook, supplies and a t-shirt that identifies them as volunteers
The training session will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 6:30 PM at the Rogers Lake West Shores Association Club House located on Rogers Lake Trail in Old Lyme. For more information or to volunteer, contact the Rogers Lake Authority by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gwendolynn Flynn of the DEEP at 860-447-4339 or email@example.com.
The zebra mussel is a black and white-striped bivalve mollusk, which was introduced into North American waters through the discharge of ship ballast water. Since its discovery in Lake St. Clair in 1998, the zebra mussel has spread throughout the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River system and most of New York State, including Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. More recently both zebra mussels and quagga mussels (a related species, and also highly invasive) have been expanding their range into a number of western and southwestern states.
Like the Zebra Mussel, numerous invasive plants have been introduced into Connecticut waters. These invasive plants can form dense mats, making boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities nearly impossible. Through education, boaters can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive plants and animals, and with the help of volunteers, we can ensure that boaters across the state are receiving the proper information about invasive species.
Actions anglers and boaters must take to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, including zebra mussels are as follows:
Before leaving a boat launch:
Clean: all visible plant, fish, and animals as well as mud or other debris. Do not transport them home.
Drain: all water from every space and item that may hold water.
At home or prior to your next launch:
Dry: anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, anchors, propellers, etc) for a minimum of 1 week during hot/dry weather or a minimum of 4 weeks during cool/wet weather.
If drying is not possible, you must clean your boat prior to the next launch. The techniques listed below are for decontaminating your vessel:
Wash your boat with hot, pressurized water.
Dip equipment in 100% vinegar for 20 minutes prior to rinsing.
Wash with a 1% salt solution (2/3 cup to 5 gallons water) and leave on for 24 hours prior to rinsing.
“Wet” with bleach solution (1oz to 1 gallon water) or soap and hot water (Lysol, boat soap, etc) for 10 minutes prior to rinsing.
Do not dump your bait bucket or release live bait! Avoid introducing unwanted plants and animals. Unless your bait was obtained on site, dispose of it in a suitable trash container or give it to another angler.
Do not transport fish, other animals or plants between water bodies. Release caught fish, other animals and plants only into the waters from which they came.
For more information on zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species, visit the DEEP’s website at http://www.ct.gov/deep/invasivespecies