On Jul 9 in Garrett County, Maryland, a single zebra mussel was intercepted by a launch steward on a boat about to enter Deep Creek Lake. The invasive crustacean likely came from Otisco Lake in New York, where the boater last put in over the July 4th holiday— However, just a week out of water isn’t enough to stop these stubborn mussels, as one hitchhiked in on a stray piece of Eurasian milfoil (another invasive species), and was only caught by a particularly vigilant employee.
With cases like this, it’s important to remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once established in a waterbody, zebra mussels become virtually impossible to eradicate, forcing managers to spend entire budgets just keeping abreast of the damage. One mussel may seem insignificant, but all it takes is one to forever infest a lake.
That's why it's more important than ever for boaters to take responsibility for their own boats and gear-- An inspector might not always be there to catch that one mussel.
Congratulations to Maryland for a successful inspection and stewardship program, and thanks for keeping our water resources safe from invaders. Sounds like they could use a CD3 station in Garrett county!