Invasive zebra mussels found in Pennington County
A new case of zebra mussel, an invasive mollusk, has been discovered in Pennington County.
That's according to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, who announced Pactola Reservoir "is now considered infested with zebra mussels" in a press release Thursday.
According to Tanner Davis, GFP Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, the department was alerted to the presence of the species after it was sent a picture of a zebra mussel stuck to a pair of sunglasses.
BOR confirmed the infestation after taking water samples of the reservoir and finding zebra mussel larvae, also known as "veligers," contained within.
Zebra mussels are small, freshwater mollusks originally native to Russia and Ukraine. They have a walnut-brown/black shell and vary in size, some are as small as grains of sandpaper, while adults can grow up to 2 inches in length.
GFP said all motorized and non-motorized boats and other watercraft must stop by a Watercraft Inspection/Decontamination station before entering or leaving any of the larger reservoirs. The inspection stations are equipped with hot water sprayers that can kill residual mussel tissue and other aquatic invasive species.
GFP is reminding the public to "clean, drain, dry" to prevent the spread of zebra mussels:
- Clean watercraft and trailers of all aquatic plants and mud.
- Drain all water by removing all drains, plugs, bailers, or valves that retain water. Be sure to completely drain your lower unit of any water by lowering completely.
- Dry all equipment that has made contact with the water before it's next use.
Potential zebra mussel infestations can be reported to GFP by visiting sdleastwanted.sd.gov.