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Water managers tackle excessive mussel population in Czech lake

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Brno, July 19 (CTK) – Czech water managers are tackling an excessive population of the zebra mussel that has invaded a part of the Nove Mlyny reservoir, south Moravia, and threatens to paralyse a local water power plant.
An invasive species, the zebra mussel has no natural enemy in Czech reservoirs. Its miniature larvae, carried by stream, penetrate the technological devices inside dams, weirs and power plants where the mussels grow, create hard shells and hamper the technology as is the case at Nove Mlyny now.
The zebra mussel colonies include up to 40,000 specimens per one square metre.
Experts say the mussel has penetrated the Czech waters from Germany. Its population seems mainly to increase after disastrous floods.
At Nove Mlyny, a reservoir complex on the Dyje River, water managers are taking measures to protect the technology from the mussel.
They are seeking a solution to the problem together with specialists and students from the Olomouc university.
Paradoxically, the small freshwater mussel ranks among the filter-feeding species that are otherwise useful as they clean water by removing particles from it. The water in reservoirs with the zebra mussel is cleaner than elsewhere.
However, if the mussel population swells excessively, it completely eliminates plankton, which other water animals need for nourishment.

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