Okla. Dept. Of Wildlife Warns About Invasive Species Being Found In Green Country Lakes

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife has found zebra mussels in many of our lakes here in Green Country, which are difficult to get rid of and can be dangerous to people because of their sharp edges.

Wednesday, May 29th 2024, 6:16 am

As people head to Oklahoma lakes for the summer, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is warning about zebra mussels, which are an invasive species of bivalve.

They have been found in many lakes and rivers across Oklahoma. This includes most recently at the Tom Steed reservoir in Kiowa County.

However, in Green Country, zebra mussels have been found in places like Keystone Lake, Grand Lake, Skiatook Lake, and Oologah Lake.

Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels aren't that big, only about the size of a fingernail and have dark zig-zagged stripes on each shell. However, zebra mussels can be dangerous to humans because of their sharp edges.

They are also very difficult to get rid of because treatments for the mussels are expensive and not very effective, but they also don't have any natural predators here.

"The main concern with them is their impact on humans. Their colonies can cause really bad problems with boats, really bad problems with inflow systems on water treatment systems because they can create a hard rocky like cluster. They can cost a lot of money in damage," said Kelly Boyer, Education Specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

Boyer said zebra mussels can spread easily from one body of water to another if people aren't careful.

"If your boat's in the water, as you pull it out draining that bilge, cleaning out your hulls, it’s really about creating an environment where they are not going to spread into another body of water," Boyer said.

According to Boyer, zebra mussels do take time to establish larger colonies. Right now, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is looking into over 50 bodies of water to see if these mussels are there in order to keep people informed the next time they go out on the water.


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