Zebra Mussels

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Jayfarmlaw

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The infestation at Murray and Tenkiller is ..... well I would consider it complete, but I dont have much to compare it to. I have heard that it clears up the water as well and never dove either lake prior to the infestation, but it is still Oklahoma lake diving. There are days that visibility is good (by Oklahoma standards) almost 8-10 feet. Most days I have been, it is 5 or less. When we were certified at Tenkiller a few years ago, our instructor only took 2 of us at a time and kept us on a short leash.

If Zebra Mussels improve water clarity....I'd hate to see it before they arrived. I have spoken with some people who have been on the lakes there entire lives and they swear it used to be much clearer. Some blame fertilizer run off, some blame nitrates from poultry litter, some blame pollution from use of the lakes, eitherway, it is still Oklahoma Muck Diving. If muscles cleared it up, it could not have been much. They are sharp little boogers, lots of little cuts if you touch the wrong thing.

At least lionfish are fun to hunt and amazing to eat! Zebra Mussels.....not so much.

Safe travels,
Jay
 

guruboy

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Sometimes the "lakes" are flooded so they let water out. All that movement doesn't help visibility.
 

Bill Parker

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How much has the visibility improved

Before Zebra's you'd lose your buddy and have to surface to regain contact. That's not needed
anymore unless you're really sloppy or it just rained heavily. The improvements in the viz have
made it easier, safer, and funner to dive there.
 

Bill Parker

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and how bad is the infestation?

It hasn't been bad at all. It's been good. Of course Travis and Murray have many differences. The
species in each lake are pretty much the same. Travis is deeper and larger than Murray. Travis
has a river that runs a large volume of water through it. Murray is totally stagnant. Zebra's effects
may be good, bad, or a combination. Only time will tell.

Watching the changes take place were entertaining. Each year conditions fluctuated. (We also
switched from drought to rainy in 2015. Rainy weather had far more impact than Zebras) I'd say
2016 it finally stabilized. That's when I saw tons of fully grown Zebra's dead in large numbers for
who know what reason.

I remember in 2013 I filmed buffalo carp munching on young Zebras. Last year I saw a school
of 25+ juvenile buffalo. I never thought it was possible to have so many fish but the Zebra
provided the food for them. And cleared the viz so it was possible to see them all at once.
This was not possible before "infestation".

Don't let Zebras touch your equipment. You won't be harmed but they will slice up your
Neoprene and even the palms of your gloves.
 

Bill Parker

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I find the fear of Zebras humorous. When I first started going to Murray
it was badly "infested" with hydrilla. Areas up to 30ft deep were
inaccessible. I never knew it was infested and I had a wonderful time
there. In May 2015 it started raining heavily several times a week until
July. The frequent rain kept the water cloudier than milk. This low viz
blocked out the light. Without light plant life in general was decimated.
99.99% of the hydrilla were killed off. Huge areas were opened up that I
had never imagined existed. Hydrilla was hiding massive numbers of fish
that now had no place to hide. The lake was teeming with life like never
before. You hear about the rain in the news but what about its effects
on the ecology? Heavy rain had a much larger effect than Zebras ever did.
Nothing about this change was reported in the 5 o'clock everyone is so
concerned with. Maybe Zebra impact is no big deal. They've had it in other
fresh water lakes since before humans walked on two legs and somehow
we survived.
 

JustJoe-TX

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The biggest problem we will encounter with Zebra mussels is going to be seen in our water bills. The tiny juveniles attach to almost any surface and start laying upwards of 30,000 eggs in 6-7 weeks. When these juveniles start attaching in pipes water flow will be affected. Water treatment plants in the U.K. are spending upwards of £500,000 ($668,000 U.S.) annually to clean out the little buggers from pipes and off of equipment. Since all of our drinking water in Texas comes from reservoirs (AFAIK) all that equipment will need additional maintenance steps to remove mussels. That additional labor translates into dollars that will undoubtedly be passed on to the end user.

On the bright side it could spur an increase of diving jobs at marinas and boat yards. Also, reports from Lake St. Claire state vis. increased from 6" to 3' although I can't confirm this.

Since they do not have any natural predators in our part of the world, the only option is to manually kill as many as you can or use a pesticide. Canada is experimenting with a bacterium called Zequanox but we are years away from knowing the full results and if the mussels will develop an immunity to it. And, let's not forget we do not know any of the affects of adding that to our lakes.

Until we find a clear path to a solution, I wonder what they taste like? Then again, with enough butter and garlic people will eat anything (ref. escargot).
 

lionfish-eater

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Consider the ZM's a business opportunity. Lake associations and dept's of Nat. Resources need divers to perform surveys and apply treatments to experimental areas. Homeowners need their shorelines and beaches maintained. I have a friend that has grown a large business doing this. Started by pulling weeds and rocks by hand on scuba to clear beaches and now has over 100 divers working for him. Serious business.
 

TMHeimer

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I've heard they have spread in Canada into Manitoba now. Somebody must've unknowingly transported some from the Great Lakes watershed to that of the Red River.
 
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