Connecticut Offers Training for Invasive Species Monitoring

The state's environmental agency and Candlewood Lake Authority are seeking volunteers to help identify and detect zebra mussels and invasive plants.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Candlewood Lake Authority (CLA) have announced training opportunities for people interested in volunteering to monitor boat launches on Candlewood Lake for the presence of the invasive plants and animals, such as zebra mussels.

Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah on October 2010. This is the first new report of zebra mussels in Connecticut since 1998 when they were discovered in East and West Twin Lakes in Salisbury.

The training will educate volunteers on how to identify and detect invasive species and also to instruct boaters on how to do the same. Volunteers will also be talking to boaters about ways they can prevent the spread of zebra mussels. Volunteers will receive a handbook, supplies, and a T-shirt that identifies them as volunteers

The first training session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on April 9 at the New Milford Police Department, 49 Poplar St. (Route 202) in New Milford. For more information or to volunteer, contact the CLA at 860.354.6298 or by e-mail at

The zebra mussel is a black and white-striped bivalve mollusk, which was introduced into North American waters through the discharge of ship ballast water. Since its discovery in Lake St. Clair in 1998, the zebra mussel has spread throughout the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River system, and most of New York State, including Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. More recently both zebra mussels and quagga mussels (a related species, and also highly invasive) have been expanding their range into a number of western and southwestern states.

Zebra mussels have fairly specific water chemistry requirements and are limited to waters with moderate to high calcium concentrations and pH. In Connecticut, suitable habitat for zebra mussels is mostly limited to a number of waterbodies in western portions of the state.

Under ideal growing conditions, zebra mussels do have the potential to clog power plant, industrial, and public drinking water intakes; foul boat hulls and engine cooling water systems; displace native mussels; increase growth of aquatic vegetation; and disrupt aquatic food webs.

Anglers and boaters must take specific action to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals, including zebra mussels.

Before Leaving A Boat Launch
Clean all visible plant, fish, and animals as well as mud or other debris. Do not transport them home.
Drain all water from every space and item that may hold water.

At Home or Prior to the Next Launch
Dry anything that comes in contact with water (boats, trailers, anchors, propellers, etc) for a minimum of 1 week during hot/dry weather or a minimum of four weeks during cool/wet weather.
If drying is not possible, you must clean your boat prior to the next launch by either washing the boat with hot pressurized water, dipping equipment in 100 percent vinegar for 20 minutes prior to rinsing, washing with a 1 percent salt solution (2/3 cup to 5 gallons water) and leave on for 24 hours prior to rinsing, or using a "wet" with bleach solution (1ounce to 1 gallon water) or soap and hot water (Lysol, boat soap, etc) for 10 minutes prior to rinsing.

When Fishing
Do not dump the bait bucket or release live bait! Avoid introducing unwanted plants and animals. Unless your bait was obtained onsite, dispose of it in a suitable trash container or give it to another angler.
Do not transport fish, other animals or plants between waterbodies. Release caught fish, other animals, and plants only into the waters from which they came.

The DEP will continue to monitor for the presence of zebra mussels at these lakes and others throughout the state. For more information on zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species, visit

Source: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

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