The and are teaming up this summer. With swimmers and lake users heading to Candlewood Lake for a dip this summer, many will be thinking about getting the or taking advantage of warm weather . Something they probably won’t be thinking about is Zebra Mussel veliger and their impact on the lake.
The Veliger Early Detection effort was something that came out of a task force that CLA assembled,” , Executive Director of the CLA said.
Zebra Mussel veliger are anthat can have devastating effects on the recreational value of Candlewood Lake, according to Marsicano.
"Veligers are an early-life stage of zebra mussels. When zebra mussels are in their veliger form, they spread easily via the water current. Once the veligers take hold, and begin to grow to the adult stage, is when the real damage occurs," Linkletter said.
When in the microscopic form, veligers aren't all that dangerous, according to Linkletter, but when they are found in veliger form, they are evidence of the existence of mature, reproducing adults,which are a threat in all the ways mentioned, he explained.
“We thought it would be important to detect the veliger early,” Marsicano said. “We recommended early detection for Candlewood.”
The CLA first caught onto the idea of early detection of the species when it was found and removed from lakes on the nearby Housatonic River last October. After finding that Lake Lillinonah and Lake Zoar were impacted by the veliger, the CLA wanted to do everything they could to keep them out of Candlewood Lake.
“There has been an expansion of the Zebra Mussel veliger in the Twin Lakes and the,” George Linkletter of the VED effort said.
Marsicano believes the veliger got through the system through Laurel Lake in Massachusetts. The damage that can be done can hurt property, people and the environment.
“If the Zebra Mussels take hold of they can cause major damage,” Linkletter said.
The shells of these Zebra Mussels are also very sharp, creating a risk to swimmers. They also siphon the nutrients out of the water, causing other species to die. The CLA and WCSU are not the only groups to be moving forward with this effort. Zebra Mussel veligers are a nationwide problem, according to Marsicano.
“We are hoping to show our capabilities and hopefully find funding to do this on a regular basis,” Marsicano said.
Editor’s Note: Below is a press release provided by George Linkletter of the Veliger Early Detection Effort.
Candlewood Lake Authority and WCSU Launch effort to detect zebra mussels
Researchers are collecting samples at
Candlewood Lake and nearby waters
for evidence of microscopic veliger
NEW MILFORD, CT July 11 -- The Candlewood Lake Authority and faculty and students from the Biological and Environmental Sciences Dept. of Western Connecticut State University are joining forces this summer in a search for evidence of the very young, microscopic form of zebra mussels known as veliger.
This early detection and monitoring effort involves collecting and testing water samples from Candlewood Lake and nearby water bodies. It is being conducted biweekly through the summer and is intended to establish a data baseline for the possible presence in Candlewood Lake of the offspring of this prolific invasive aquatic species. The CT Dept. of Environmental Protection is providing funding for the effort.
If detected, the offspring might be the result of importation from nearby waters that are contaminated, or they might indicate and help pinpoint the location of reproducing colonies of zebra mussels in Candlewood Lake.
The student researchers are also collecting and testing water samples from nearby Lakes Lillinonah and Zoar, and from the Housatonic River upstream of the Rocky River location in New Milford where FirstLight Power Resources pump-ups water into Candlewood Lake.
No known contamination
“It is important to point out that as far as we know, Candlewood Lake is still free of zebra mussels,” explained Larry Marsicano, executive director of the Candlewood Lake Authority. “This early detection effort, which is targeted at those areas of Candlewood Lake that are believed most capable of supporting an infestation, will help us document the absence of zebra mussels, let us know as soon as possible if any veligers appear and in what volumes, and may also help us determine their origin.”
As part of the study, student interns under the direction of Dr. Mitch Wagener of the Biological and Environmental Sciences Dept. will go to specific locations on Candlewood Lake and the other nearby water bodies to collect the water samples.
Using a 2-meter long, funnel-shaped net made of extremely fine mesh, attached to a 5-meter long rope, the students will collect samples from about 1,000 liters of water. The water samples are placed in jars, labeled and transported back to a WCSU laboratory for identification and analysis by both students and professors.
Dr. Wagener is overseeing the analyses of samples using specialized microscope techniques. The water samples will also undergo a process known as PCR analysis by WCSU’s Dr. Ed Wong and his students. The PCR process utilizes the genetic material, or DNA, to determine the presence or absence of veligers in the water samples.
The CT Dept. of Environmental Protection and FirstLight Power Resources are also conducting separate early detection studies at various locations in the Housatonic River, and Lakes Lillinonah and Zoar, to gather more data on the presence of zebra mussels in those locations.
Zebra mussels were discovered last October in nearby Lakes Lillinonah and Zoar. They are also known to be in the Twin Lakes in Salisbury CT and in Laurel Lake in Lee, MA -- all of which drain into the Housatonic River -- and in the Hudson River in NY.
The Candlewood Lake Authority and WCSU are part of a regional Zebra Mussel Task Force that is working to prevent the spread of zebra mussels into Candlewood Lake and other uninfected water bodies. This early detection effort is one of a number of recommendations made by the Zebra Mussel Task Force.