We went into town today and after our errand, checked out the beach. I don’t think I’ve been to the beach at this time day. The tide was quite a bit lower than I usually see it. That meant we could see more of the opposite shore than usual.
The land looks like it’s floating!
The low water meant there was lots to look for on the beach.
Including some pretty, but unfortunate, things.
To the right, you can see a little cluster of tiny zebra mussels. A couple have attached themselves to the shell on the left. We were seeing little bunches like this all over. Not long ago, some sections of beach had so many zebra mussels wash up on shore that the shoreline was completely covered with glass-sharp shells, several inches deep.
Zebra mussels are an invasive species that showed up here about 5 years ago, likely introduced through the ballast of someone’s boat that was used in infected water, elsewhere (pdf). They grow very quickly, and cause all sorts of problems with the local ecology, boats and infrastructure. The infestation has gotten so bad, some are seriously proposing killing the entire lake off to combat them! This is one of the top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the world, so it gives an idea of how bad the situation has gotten, and how desperate people are getting.
Yet they look so harmless, in their little clusters on the beach.