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Property Values Rise on Zebra Mussel Infested Lakes
A University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh economics student spent two years researching the relationship between zebra mussels and property values and came to a counterintuitive conclusion: The value of lakefront properties in central and northern Wisconsin with the invasive mollusks actually increased, compared to properties where mussels are not found.

A single mussel, the size of thumbnail, can filter a liter of water in a day. The ability to siphon and strip water of phytoplankton and other suspended material can rob a lake, river or stream of critical nutrients.

Zebra mussel populations can multiply quickly and blanket areas they invade. The annual cost of keeping water intake systems free of
the mussels is about $250 million in the Great Lakes region, according to the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

Zebra mussels also have been tied to outbreaks of toxin-producing blue-green algae. Swimmers are known to cut their feet on the shells. And along Lake Michigan, zebra mussels play a role in making many beaches smelly and unwelcoming because they spur the growth of a type of algae known as Cladophora, which washes ashore with the mussels and other organic material and rots.

But zebra mussels' filtering ability also produces an undeniable result: It improves water clarity. Also, some fish species, such as smallmouth bass, have benefited when the mussel is present, since clearer water spurs the growth of weedy plants favored by some fish.

It's these attributes — clearer water and bass-friendly — that has had a positive effect on some lakeside properties.

 
 


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City Hauls in Over a Tonne of Invasive Goldfish - Goldfish are an invasive species in Alberta that can outcompete native fish if released into the wild. They’ve been in the isolated Lacombe Lake Park for decades, but were only spotted in Edgewater in 2015 and in Ted Hole last spring. That sparked concern, as those ponds had a sewer link to the Sturgeon River. The city broke out the pesticides on the advice of Alberta Environment after nets, electricity and winter’s icy grasp failed to eliminate the invaders.


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