Letter to the Editor: Inspections and Education Are Crucial in Quagga and Zebra Mussel Eradication

Byline: John DeLaurentis

I’m writing this in response to the letter to the editor from Michael Henderson, getting his shorts in a knot over the scheduled increase in boat fees related to quagga and zebra mussels, in the Sept. 28-Oct. 11 issue of The Log.

Zebra and quagga mussels were first discovered in Great Lakes waters in 1989, and in Lake Mead waters in 2007. Their introduction to the Great Lakes was through discharge of foreign ship’s ballast water, whereas the transfer to Lake Mead was by careless recreational boating. Both contaminations were preventable.

Michael thinks we should spend the additional registration fees on “eradication” efforts instead of “inspections” and “brochures.” Michael, if eradication were an option, do you truly believe we’d still have an invasive mussel problem?

Inspections and education represent our ONLY defense against the spread of these highly destructive and ultra-prolific breeders. Face it, this time the G-men got it right.

Once introduced to any waters in the U.S.A., quaggas and zebras are virtually without predators, spreading rapaciously and wreaking havoc in myriad ways, while offering not a single benefit from their presence.

Yellow perch have adapted quaggas to their diet, but that took 10 years of exposure in the Great Lakes — and introduced redear sunfish, a mussel-eating fish, may provide some small measure of control for this imported menace in the Lake Mead area. But these represent a very low-level problematic check at best, with prevention being the only true control — prevention realized through inspections and enlightenment.

Henderson’s knee-jerk, sanctimonious rant over a government fee increase smacks of a Fox News/radio talk-show junkie: well agitated, but ill informed.

John DeLaurentis

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