An Invasive Species Has Found Its Way Into One Of South Dakota’s Most Popular Lakes

Lake Sharpe, S.D.- They latch, clog, eat and clump. According to game fish and parks, since 2015 zebra mussels have also been found in Lewis and Clark Lake, Lake Yankton and McCook Lake. Aquatic invasive species biologist BJ Schall, says, “as adults they cling to a hard surface, they can be transported from a boat or a dock or a piece of equipment that’s moved from one body of water to another.”

Zebra mussels will colonize on any hard structure in the water, like this cone pulled from Lake Sharpe. They can block water flow in machinery and watercraft, sometimes causing expensive damage. “So this can cause problems with power generation. It can cause issues for boaters; it can wreck their boat motors and things like that,” says Schall.

Beach go-ers also need to keep an eye out for the sharp edges of dead zebra mussels washing up on shore. Some cuts have been deep enough to require a trip to the emergency room. Schall also mentioned the warning signs posted “At Lewis and Clark for instance, reminding swimmers that they should wear water shoes or sandals when they go swimming because they can get cut.”

Boaters and anglers are the biggest victims to the small invasive clams…but Schall says they’re also the best method of prevention, “If you have a boat you can clean it by simply doing the rinse. You can drain it. You can towel dry it off if you’d like and then you can dispose of any invasives that you might find on your water craft.”

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