Prior to this discovery, Veligers have been found in the Wahpeton area in 2010, 2011 and 2014, but never in the north of the city.
FARGO, North Dakota – City officials in Fargo say an adult zebra mussel has been found in the Red River.
Game and Fish had confirmed the presence of large numbers of zebra mussel veligers or larvae at several locations along the Red River earlier in the week, and this is the first documented adult zebra mussel collected in North Dakota waters.
They compete for the same food sources as some game fish, which can throw off food-chain dynamics in fresh water ecosystems. Their eating habits can dramatically alter the complexion and nutrient-levels of fresh water basins. Using sticky threads, a zebra mussels attaches itself to native mussels or other underwater objects, while a native mussel uses a foot to burrow into the river or lake bottom.
Once invasive species like zebra mussels get into waterways, it is almost impossible to get them out.
Fred Ryckman, an aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the Game and Fish Department, opined that the discovery of so many Veligers is certainly surprising and it is even more incredible considering the fact that in similar sampling over the past several years only about half dozen Veligers in total have been detected. “We didn’t expect to find any problems but we wanted to check”, Troy Hall, the Fargo Water Utility Director, said.