Protect the Great Lakes from Invasive Mussels

Target: Dr. Robert Kavlock, Office of Research and Development at the EPA

Goal: Fund research on zebra mussel eradication to protect Great Lakes ecosystems.

The Great Lakes are in danger due to an invasive species. Zebra mussels were first discovered in the Great Lakes in the late 1980s. Since then, they have been wreaking havoc on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes and damaging the infrastructure of the surrounding areas. We must support scientific research to find a safe way to eradicate invasive zebra mussels without harming native species, before the Great Lakes ecosystems are completely destroyed.

Although the surface of the Great Lakes may look the same as it did fifty years ago, below the surface is a different story. Once rich with aquatic life, many areas of the lakes now resemble a wasteland where only mussels grow. The mussels can filter vast amounts of water every day, removing nutrients and algae from the water. In lakes, algae form the base of the food chain; almost every species, directly or indirectly, depends on algae. Native fish populations have been devastated: the estimated amount of prey species (which are food for larger fish like trout, perch, and bass) has fallen by 345 kilotons. The Great Lakes mussels have also contributed to an increase in botulism bacteria, which has killed an estimated 100,000 birds since 1999.

Zebra mussels are not just bad news for aquatic animals; they are also dangerous for humans. They lacerate the feet of swimmers and beachgoers, and they appear to be linked to higher levels of toxins called microcystins. Mussels also thrive in water intake pipes, blocking water flow to homes and businesses. It is estimated that $5 billion has been spent trying to keep pipes free of zebra mussels.

The population of zebra mussels has been growing explosively. Each female can produce up to a million eggs per year, and zebra mussels have no natural predators in the Great Lakes. Humans brought the zebra mussel to the Great Lakes, and now we must find a way to eradicate them. Sign this petition to urge Dr. Robert Kavlock to increase funding for research aimed at zebra mussel elimination.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Kavlock,

The ecosystems of the Great Lakes are in grave danger. The invasive zebra mussel population is growing unchecked, decimating fish populations and leading to bacterial disease that has killed thousands of shorebirds. It is estimated that the Great Lakes are plagued with as many as 750 trillion invasive mussels. If we do not act, these mussels may one day be the only animals that live in the Great Lakes.

At this point, physical removal of the mussels is impossible. But scientists are researching strategies to eradicate the invasive mussels without harming native species, including the use of copper ions and non-infectious bacterial proteins. I urge to you take action to promote this research and save the Great Lakes before it is too late.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: D. Jude, University of Michigan

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One Comment

  1. protect the zebra muscles from the bad invasive species .

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