Discovery of Juvenile Zebra Mussels in Lake George
On Nov. 4, 2004, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute’s Darrin Fresh
Water Institute (DFWI) found three settled juvenile zebra
mussels on plates that were removed from the Ticonderoga Boat
Zebra mussels—a non-indigenous species that are not present
in the historic record of an area—have been a major concern in
recent years. Considered a prolific nuisance, they grow in
clusters that wreak havoc on the water intake pipes of water
treatment facilities, power plants and industry.
Since 1997, the DFWI has maintained zebra mussel “spat
traps” at four to six locations in Lake George, which currently
include Ticonderoga Boat Launch, Coates Point, Dark Bay , Green
Island , and King Neptune’s. Spat traps are recruitment
collectors containing eight stainless steel plates. Each spring
and fall the plates are exchanged from the traps and examined
for the presence of settled juvenile mussels.
Until last week, no settled juvenile mussels had been found
on any of the plates since collection began in 1997. On
November 4, 2004, three settled juvenile zebra mussels were
found on the plates that were removed from the Ticonderoga Boat
The sizes of the mussels removed from these plates were 8.4,
9.4, and 10.6 mm in length. Clean plates had been installed at
this location on May 28, 2004, so the juvenile mussels are no
more than 5 months old.
"Although there are a number of factors indicating that Lake
George provides a less than favorable environment for zebra
mussel colonization, this new discovery of juvenile zebra
mussels at the Ticonderoga Boat Launch site raises concern. If
steps are not taken to prevent the continual introduction of
zebra mussels into the lake, it is possible that Lake George
will eventually become colonized by this invasive species,"
Nierzwicki-Bauer, Director of the DFWI and professor of
Nierzwicki-Bauer highlighted steps that can be taken to
better protect Lake George from zebra mussel colonization:
- People should be on the lookout for zebra mussels,
including inspection of docks when removed from the lake. If
a zebra mussel is discovered, it should be removed, placed in
a plastic bag and brought to the Darrin Fresh Water Institute
(DFWI) in Bolton Landing or call DFWI at (518) 644-3451.
- People should not take water or bait taken from one lake
and use it in another.
- Require inspection and cleaning of vessels prior to
launching into Lake George.