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Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Zebra Mussels - Lakes

Walking on Zebra mussels would be a pleasure when compared to walking on the black, slimy, bottom of most of the upper Chesapeake's tributaries. Take a nice hike on the bottom of Back River just east of the Eastern Avenue Bridge. Yeah, you know the place, Cox Point State Park, where no one has been able to swim for more than 75 years because of the pollution. If the Zebra Mussels took up residence there they probably would suffocate. Gotta feel sorry for the little critters.

When Zebra Mussels first invaded the great lakes all the marine biologists screamed this invasive species would destroy the lake's ecology. Amazing! When I was 17 years old and in boot camp at Great Lakes, IL you could stand in Lake Michigan in ankle deep water and not see your toes. Today, you can toss a quarter overboard and watch it sink to the bottom in 25 feet of water.

The yellow perch in Lake Erie at the same time were so contaminated that they were considered unsafe to eat. Not so today. Gee, I wonder if the Zebras cleaned up the lake to the point where the fish were now safe to consume? That would be my guess.

Zebras are incredible filter feeders, and because of their sheer numbers they scrub huge volumes of water every minute of every day. They seem to be far more efficient at this than clams and oysters, and because nothing other than diving ducks seems to want to eat them, from my point of view they don't seem to pose any environmental threat at all.

From some of the research I did on them three decades ago, the problems of them clogging intake pipes for municipal water supplies was quickly solved by passing a low voltage across the pipe surface, which kept the vellagers off the pipes, something like a cattle fence. And, the tiny amount of chlorine used to purify drinking water apparently kills any escapees that make into the system.

Bottom line: Despite the billions upon billions of dollars spent on the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Program, the bay is filthy. I'll take the Zebras over the political hacks and naysayers at Maryland DNR, put my tax money back in my pocket where I can spend it as I see fit, mainly on sailing. Hell, if the water was nice and clean, I probably would still have a great fishing boat and be out on the bay catching striped bass, perch, bluefish and eating them regularly.

Like I said "C'mon Zebras!"

Gary
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