Researchers have discovered a widespread infestation of quagga mussels in Crooked Lake near Petoskey. It’s the first time the mussels have been reported in an inland lake in Michigan.
Quagga mussels spread rapidly through the Great Lakes in the 1990s and eventually displaced their cousin, the zebra mussel. Kevin Cronk from the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council says quagga mussels have a wide range and reproduce very quickly.
“The concern is that they will spread down through the chain and infest the various connecting waterways – the Crooked River, Burt Lake, the Indian River (and) the Cheboygan River,” says Cronk.
Quagga mussels eat large amounts of phytoplankton, a food source relied on by many other species.
The council is asking boaters to help fight the spread of quagga mussels by decontaminating their boats after leaving Crooked Lake.