Georgia boat owner finds invasive mussels on Tennessee boat

April 22, 2021 GMT

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (AP) — Georgia officials who are trying to keep zebra mussels out of Lake Lanier and other bodies of water say a boat owner recently spotted the invasive mussels in a boat purchased from a Tennessee resident.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Melissa Cummings said the new owner was cleaning the boat and never launched it into the big reservoir north of Atlanta before finding the mussels and calling the Wildlife Resources Division.

State employees removed about a gallon of dead mussels and helped the new owners to make sure the boat was drained, cleaned and dried before launching it into Lake Lanier.

“They did the absolute right thing by contacting our office,” Cummings wrote Thursday in an email. “This is why our agency urges anyone that moves boats from waterway to waterway (whether between states or just between different water bodies) to thoroughly clean, drain and dry the vessel before launching again.”


Zebra mussels are native to Europe but have spread throughout the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River system, including the Tennessee River. They cause damage by encrusting on boats and water intake pipes, while out-competing native mussels and other species for food and habitat.

No established population is known in Georgia. In March zebra mussels were found in Georgia pet stores attached to plants being sold for aquariums.