Drop a Brick on Zebra Mussels

Photo by Amy Benson, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org

The LGA encourages local citizens to "Drop A Brick on Zebra Mussels" to help monitor for new infestations of this invasive species. All you have to do is lower a brick into water near a dock and monitor the brick for attached zebra mussels throughout the summer.

This process isn't 100% perfect. Zebra mussels could settle on a rock or dock piling right next to your brick. Just checking your brick doesn’t mean you don’t have any zebra mussels. (Bricks are not zebra mussel kryptonite!) But the more people looking for zebra mussels the more likely we will find them and be able to remove them before they have a chance to take a hold.

Directions for Monitoring for Zebra Mussels
• Hang a brick off your dock on a rope– make sure the brick is a few feet above the bottom of the lake so it doesn’t get covered with sediment. Zebra mussels attach to hard objects – like bricks – and aren’t found in sediment (which is where our native mussels live).
• Hang the brick as close as possible to where you keep your boat tied to your dock or where boats are launched and/or retrieved – since it is likely that the main way they are spreading around the lake is by hitchhiking on boats.
• Check your brick regularly throughout the summer – if it feels grittier than usual or you see something that looks suspicious call the LGA right away.
• You can leave your brick in all year – or take it out for the winter. If you take your brick out for the winter, just put it back in the water in the spring.

Zebra mussels reproduce when water temperatures reach about 55 degrees F – which is around the first or second week of June for our area. The young are microscopic zooplankton called veligers that float in the water. It isn’t until they settle to the bottom and begin to grow a shell that we can really see them. We don’t think that zebra mussels can successfully reproduce in Lake George, because we have low calcium levels in the lake, and zebra mussels need calcium to build their shells. But there are some areas in the lake with higher levels of calcium, and concrete also leaches a small amount of calcium as well.

Past Participation

In 2010 we had 52 participants all along the shores of Lake George from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga. No zebra mussels were reported to be on the bricks.

In 2009 we had 10 marinas and 57 homeowners report back to us at the end of the season that their bricks were all clear with no zebra mussels.

In 2008 we had 8 marinas and 50 individuals report back to us. Areas of recording included Lake George Village, Harris Bay, Cotton Point, Echo Bay, and several others in the southern basin and Hague, Silver Bay, Gull Bay and other locations in the north basin. All volunteers reported no zebra mussels on their bricks!

Even though volunteer reports did not show signs of zebra mussels, it does not mean they are not in Lake George. As of the end of 2009, 25,475 zebra mussels have been found and removed from Lake George by divers from the Darrin Fresh Water Institute, InnerSpace Scientific Diving, and Bateaux Below. From 1999 - 2006 they were present in only four locations (Lake George Village, Mossy Point Boat Launch, Cleverdale, and Sandy Bay). By the end of 2007, an additional three locations (Castaway Marina, Yankee Marina, and Rogers Rock Campground) of adult zebra mussels were identified. In 2008, two more locations (Treasure Cove and Beckley's Marina) were identified, and in 2009 one more locations was found in between Beckley's and Treasure Cove (called Middle Bay) for a total of ten known locations overall at the end of 2009. Due to a lack of funding, divers did not search for zebra mussels in 2010. Hopefully funding will again be available in 2011 to visit known sites to remove mussels and to survey high risk areas for new mussels.

Click here for the latest map of locations where zebra mussels have been found and removed.

 

Brick Locations
Algonquin Bay
Arcady Bay (Pardo Point)
Assembly Point (East side)
Assembly Point (End)
Assembly Point (west side)
Baldwin dock (north of)
Bass Bay
Bay north of VanBuren Bay
Bolton Bay
Cape Cod village
Diamont Pt across from Canoe Islands
Dunhams Bay
Dunhams Bay (west shore)
Echo Bay
Elizabeth Island (mainland behind)
Elizabeth Island Channel
Forest Bay
Friends Point
Gull Bay
Hague Bay
Harris Bay
Harris Bay (Assembly Point)
Heart Bay
Homer Point
Indian Point (putnam)
Jacobie Point
Katskill Bay
Lake George Village (next to Halls)
Lake George Village on west side (1/2 mile North)
McDonald Bay, Hague
Northwest Bay
Oahu Island
Oneida Bay
Oneida Boat Club
Pilot Knob
Rockhurst
Sabbath Day Point
Sawmill Bay
Shadow Bay
Shore Colony Association (Assembly Point)
Silver Bay
South of Burnt Point in unnamed bay
Southwest Basin Bay
Stebbins Brook
Tea Island Bay
Ushers Park (next to)
Van Buren Bay
Warner Bay
Watch Island Bay

 

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