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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why Not Us?  

Back in January 2007, an article in the Denver Post asked an interesting question: Why did the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis), found in several states in the Northeast USA, seem to skip over Colorado in its spread to the west, and end up in Nevada (in Lake Mead)? Well, ask no more, Denver Post. and others are reporting that the quagga mussel has been discovered for the first time in Colorado, in Lake Granby. The lake is actually a storage reservoir located on the Colorado River, which has already seen quagga mussel incursions via its southern tip...Lake Mead. The quaggas are thought to have arrived in the reservoir via ballast discharge.

Pair this with the discovery of the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) in Lake Pueblo in late 2007, and Colorado has no need to feel left out any more!

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A quick Google search indicates Lake Granby is popular for wakeboarding. Many wakeboard boats use "ballast bags" - portable water tanks - to achieve an ideal wake; the water is pumped overboard at the end of the day. I think it likely the mussels were unwittingly transported to Lake Granby the same way their ancestors arrived in the US - via a ballast tank.

I would like to add a ballast bag to my own boat, but I haven't figured out how to be sure I'm not transporting aliens in it :-(

By Blogger Michael, at 7/22/2008 10:31:00 AM  

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