Lake Conservation

Zebra Mussels

The zebra mussel gets its name from the dark and light stripes on its shell that resembles those on a zebra. It is believed that the zebra mussel arrived in Lake St. Clair via the ballast water of transoceanic ships. It did not take long for the zebra mussel to spread. By 1990, they could be found in all of the Great Lakes. In 1991, zebra mussels had found their way into the Illinois and Hudson Rivers. From here they had even more access to other rivers and to disperse ever further. Just one year later, established populations were found in the Arkansas, Cumberland, Hudson, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. It was only a matter of time before the zebra mussel made its way into the inland waters of some states. Populations are now known from at least 23 states, primarily within the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. For more information, click on this link.

Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife, known for its beautiful purple flowers and landscape value, was brought to the United States from Europe in the 1800's. It has become a serious pest to native wetland communities where it out-competes native plants. Native plants are vital to wetland wildlife for food and shelter. Each year, more than a million acres of wetlands in the U.S. are taken over by this plant. A state law was enacted July 1, 1996, that prohibits the sale of ALL forms of purple loosestrife. For more information, click on this link.



Milfoil is very difficult to control once it becomes fully established. Milfoil reproduces through fragmentation whereby plant fragments break off from the parent plant through wind or boat action, grow roots, and settle in a new location. Milfoil spreads rapidly and displaces beneficial native plant life. It makes swimming difficult and can devalue lake property. Milfoil has no natural predators to keep its population in check. Under optimum temperature, light and nutrients, milfoil may grow up to an inch per day. Milfoil can live out of water for many hours if it remains moist.



Canada Goose Management

Less than forty years ago, the Canada goose was extremely rare in Indiana. Now, the Canada goose is a common sight. While many people enjoy seeing Canada geese, problems can occur when too many geese concentrate in one area. Geese are grazers and feed extensively on fresh, short, green grass. Add a permanent body of water and you have the perfect environment for geese to set up residence, multiply and concentrate. Geese, including their young, also have a strong tendency to return to the same area year after year. Once geese start nesting in a particular place, the stage is already set for more geese in successive years.

Geese are particularly aggressive during breeding and nesting season. Breeding pairs begin nesting in late February and March. Egg-laying begins soon after nest construction is complete. Female Canada geese lay one egg every day and a half, and the average clutch size is five. Incubation of eggs begins after the last egg is laid and lasts 28 days.

Geese can cause a great deal of localized damage if many young are hatched in one area. After hatching, goslings are incapable of flight for about 70 days, so the young birds and their parents will graze near the hatching area for that time. Adults also molt their flight feathers near the end of June, rendering them flightless for 15 to 20 days. For more information, click on this link.

Other topics of interest and links

Nuisance Wildlife

Endangered Species

Wildlife Damage Management



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