MDC to destroy zebra mussels found in Smithville Lake

SMITHVILLE Mo – Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff will use a chemical treatment in an attempt to destroy zebra mussels recently found in the waters of Camp Branch Marina on Smithville Lake. The treatment is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 10.

The MDC is working in cooperation with Clay County Parks & Recreation, the City of Smithville and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

According to MDC Fisheries Biologist Scott Ryan, the treatment will consist of applying almost 400 gallons of a commercial algaecide to the water around the marina. Ryan explained that the algaecide contains copper, which is toxic to zebra mussels. He noted that the treatment should not cause any extensive damage to other aquatic species.

Ryan added that Conservation staff will continue to inspect the waters around the marina where the mussels were found for additional signs of infestation and will conduct long-term monitoring of the entire lake.

Marvin Boyer of the USACE, which owns the lake, said that there would be no smell associated with the treatment, but there may be a brief blue tint to the water. He added that the manufacturer’s information about the chemical indicates there should be no adverse reactions to boaters, skiers or swimmers, such as eye or skin irritation. The chemicals will not harm boats or equipment.

The City of Smithville Water Department stated that drinking water will not be affected by the algaecide used to treat the infestation.

According to the Missouri Wildlife Code, it is illegal to transport prohibited species, which include zebra mussels, into, out of or within the state. Boaters often unwittingly transport the mollusks when trailering boats from one body of water to another.

Zebra mussels have already infested numerous lakes, rivers and streams in Missouri and Kansas including sections of the Mississippi, Missouri and Osage rivers. Lake of the Ozarks has dozens of infested sites. The pests have also turned up in Lake Taneycomo, Bull Shoals Lake and Pomme de Terre Lake. Kansas infestations near Smithville include Perry Reservoir and Milford Lake.

MDC Invasive Species Coordinator Tim Banek emphasized that boaters play a vital role in preventing the spread of zebra mussels and should remember three simple rules:

  • Clean – Remove all plants, animals and mud, and thoroughly wash everything, especially live wells, crevices and other hidden areas. Wash boat bilges, trailers, motor drive units and live wells with hot water at least 104 degrees. Most commercial car washers meet this standard.
  • Drain – Eliminate all water before leaving the area, including live wells, bilge and engine cooling water.
  • Dry – Allow boats and other equipment to dry in the sun at least five days before launching in other waters.

For more information on zebra mussels and other invasive species, visit www.missouriconservation.org.