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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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Potomac River Threatened by Pollution - A new report by a nonprofit advocacy group, American Rivers named the Potomac as the nation’s most endangered river. The Potomac watershed is 14,700 square miles and the nutrient and sediment pollution washing into it is becoming a threat.


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