On Friday, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) announced that zebra mussels, a harmful invasive aquatic species, have been found in a quarry Iredell County. It is the first time this species has been identified in the wild in North Carolina.
Zebra mussels are prolific, and adult mussels can move attach themselves to boats, docks lifts and other water equipment to spread from one body of water to another. Zebra mussel larvae can be transported when water is moved from one location to another on diving equipment, in bait buckets or boat bilges, or other gear.
Zebra mussels are known to quickly take over an environment once they are established to the detriment of other aquatic wildlife. They are capable of clogging both public drinking and wastewater systems, as well as damaging recreational equipment.
Because of their destructive impact, it is unlawful to transport, purchase, possess, sell or stock zebra mussels in public or private North Carolina waters.
NCWRC asks that all North Carolinians take steps to prevent the spread of zebra mussels:
- Clean: Equipment of all aquatic plants, animals and mud.
- Drain: Water from boats, live wells, bait buckets and all equipment.
- Dry: All equipment thoroughly
- Never Move: Fish, plants or other organisms from one body of water to another.