Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

Zebra mussels spread in western Massachusetts

By Clarence Fanto, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Wednesday August 10, 2011

Zebra mussels have been detected in the Housatonic River as far downstream from Laurel Lake in Lee as the Connecticut state line and beyond, according to a report from Biodrawversity, an Amherst-based consulting firm.

As of last summer, the invasive mollusks' downstream presence extended only as far as Stockbridge.

Senior ecologist Ethan Nadeau, who owns Biodrawversity, measured the downstream migration during tests this summer. The mussels were carried from the lake into the river by Laurel Brook, he said. Biodrawversity confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Laurel Lake in 2009.

Nadeau has alerted the Housatonic Valley Association, said Dennis Regan, the Massachusetts director of the organization.

"There is no natural enemy of the mussels, so we can expect them to keep on spreading," Regan said...

No other lakes in Berkshire County have been identified as contaminated thus far. Federal and state grants worth $71,000 have funded eight full-time boat ramp monitors at several lakes as well as the portable wash station at Laurel Lake and another on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield.

State officials have described Berkshire County as on the "front lines" of the zebra-mussel invasion. Also being monitored are Lake Buel in Monterey, Richmond Pond and Cheshire Lake.

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