Grand River Dam Authority's Office of Ecosystems Management is spreading awareness on the risk of the zebra mussels. Sam Ziara, a water biologist with the GRDA Ecosystems Management is hopeful the group's display, "Oklahoma's Most Unwanted" at the Oklahoma Aquarium, will be an effective tool in educating the public.
Over the last few years, GRDA Ecosystems Management has also worked closely with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary to place zebra mussel prevention tips on signs at many public boat ramps. The idea is to increase awareness and to help prevent further spread.
GRDA Ecosystems Management has several tips to help hinder the spread of mussels:
• Boats should not be left in the water for extended periods of time. With regular use, engine heat should keep mussels from colonizing inside most engine parts.
• Always drain the bilge water, live wells, and bait buckets.
• Inspect the boat and trailer immediately upon leaving the water.
• Scrape off any mussel found. Do not return them to the water.
• If possible, dry the boat and trailer for at least a week before entering another waterway. If conditions are right, mussels can live for up to seven days on a boat hull outside the water.
• Wash boat parts and accessories that contact the water using hot water (at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit), a 10% solution of household chlorine bleach, or hot saltwater solution. Do not wash the boat at the ramp where these solutions could pollute the water. Always finish with a clean water rinse.
For more information on zebra mussels, or to report a possible sighting in GRDA waters, contact the GRDA Office of Ecosystems Management at (918) 782-3382, or visit the Office of Ecosystems Management website.
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