Officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission are warning boaters and anglers to be on the lookout for invasive Zebra Mussels that were recently found at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.
“Adult Zebra Mussels can attach to surfaces and can be spread easily between waters if they become attached to boats or fishing gear,” said Sean Hartzell, PFBC Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. “The microscopic larvae of the Zebra Mussel can also be spread through undrained water transported on boats or gear. Unfortunately, little can be done to eliminate Zebra Mussels once they become established in a water body.”
Wildlife officials say it is unclear how the invasive species was introduced to the lake but ask boaters, anglers and others to avoid spreading the species around by properly cleaning, draining and drying their boats and gear after each trip on the lake.
“This discovery of Zebra Mussels gives us a great amount of concern for the aquatic resources within Raystown Lake and the potential for spread to other waters,” said Kris Kuhn, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Fisheries. “Given the size and popularity of Raystown Lake for recreational fishing and boating, the probability that this invasive species will be spread to other waters is high. We need every angler, boater, and conservation-minded visitor to the lake to help us stop the spread.”
Zebra Mussels are described as small, “D-shaped,” striped, thumbnail-sized bivalves that destroy aquatic ecosystems by filtering out plankton.
Officials say they are also known to cause infrastructure issues by clogging freshwater pipes, and attaching to boat docks, beaches and boats.
To report Zebra Mussels, or any other invasive species, visit the Fish and Boat Commission website.