Mussels muscling into Montana

Mussels muscling into Montana

News Type: State, Regional Source: Lone Peak Lookout
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Invasive zebra and quagga mussels may have been found in Montana recently, but Kate Wilson, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s invasive species outreach specialist, said there’s still hope for stopping the spread.

The invasion of zebra mussels in the United States began in the late 1980s when they were introduced to the Great Lakes via cargo ships coming from the Black and Caspian seas. Since then the invasive bivalve has spread rapidly via the Mississippi River and beyond—filtering water, choking out native species, clogging pipes and slicing open countless feet in their wake.

For a while it seemed the zebra and its larger, more cold-resistant counterpart—the quagga mussel—would steer clear of Montana. But in 2016, microscopic baby mussels known as veligers were found in the Tiber Reservoir in eastern Montana on the Marias River.