Though invasive zebra mussels colonized the Great Lakes at great economic and ecological costs to the region, the species has had relatively little impact on the Ohio River system. Mussels don’t clog the cooling water intake pipes on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers as much as they do elsewhere, according to an electric utility company.
One biologist suggests zebra mussels haven’t taken hold in the river because the muddy bottom is too soft for the species, which cling to hard surfaces. Predators like muskrats, ducks, and fish may also eat enough mussels to keep populations in check.
Image credit: USGS