Hidden Lake: Invasive Zebra Mussels Found at Eagle Lake
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has identified invasive nonnative zebra mussels in Eagle Lake at Hidden Lake Forest Preserve in Downers Grove and is asking anglers to take steps to prevent their spread.
- Drain and remove all water, mud, plants and animals from your fishing gear before you leave the shore.
- Wash and dry anything that comes in contact with the water, including tackle, clothes and pets. Use hot water (over 104 degrees) or a power washer. If possible, let items dry for five days. You can’t see juvenile zebra mussels with the naked eye, and they can survive out of water. If you don’t clean and dry your gear, you can easily move them from lake to lake.
- Juveniles can also hitchhike in bait buckets, so never move bait buckets from one body of water to another, and never dump bait in a lake or waterway. Empty bait buckets in garbage cans before leaving the forest preserve.
- Never put plants or animals in a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.
The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is a fingernail-sized, striped nonnative mollusk that’s spread across the U. S. by attaching to watercraft to bait buckets. Zebra mussels are prolific breeders and can critically harm native mussel populations by interfering with feeding. Large populations can filter all of the water in a lake in one day, consuming plankton that native species rely on for food. Some native waterfowl and fish feed on zebra mussel but do not consume enough to control populations.
Round Meadow Lake and a stretch of the East Branch DuPage River are also located at Hidden Lake Forest Preserve, but to date, the District has not identified zebra mussels in either.
In 2009 the District discovered zebra mussels in Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett.
Image © Randy Westbrook U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org