There’s two main reasons that we do not want zebra mussels in our water systems:
1) They tend to clog up pipes and drainage systems. It’s not cheap removing them.
2) Because they are not native to the waters of North America, they have very few predators and are able to outgrow native clams by a factor of between 10-20 times. They consume plankton that other animals require, effectively starving out other animals native to the area.
According to nationatlas.gov, “zebra mussels upset ecosystems, threaten native wildlife, damage structures, and cause other serious problems.” They threaten native wildlife, especially in enclosed aquatic ecosystems like lakes, because they can filter up to a quart of water a day, which can add up to a population filtering an entire lake in one day. This leads to the starving out that phillius mentioned because the zebra mussels share food sources with other animals, and they tend to hog it!
These mussels also harm structures vital to boating, including boats themselves. Not only can a colony sink navigational buoys, but they can get attach to boat hulls, motors, and cooling systems, causing a long list of problems.
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