Could there be a reason for concern in the Geneva Lakes Environmental Agency (GLEA) survey of Geneva Lake?
The answer to that question is yes. The GLEA is careful and methodical in its approach. It runs tests and records, interprets and publishes the result. Then, and only when supported by sufficient data, does the GLEA publicly speculate on potential lake problems, causes and effects.
The Geneva Shore Report is often times proactive in trying to make citizens aware of what is happening today and what to expect tomorrow, rather than simply explaining the past. In doing this the GSR risks being wrong more than the GLEA. So what is happening around Geneva Lake that is getting the attention of the GLEA? The lake’s basic food chain is all about algae eaten by zooplankton, which is then eaten by insects & small fish, which are then eaten by medium-sized fish and so on up the food chain. The Zebra mussels are an invasive species that have been known to disrupt this food chain by consuming algae which is the zooplankton’s food. When the Zebra mussels were introduced into Geneva Lake in the 1990’s (to ‘clean’ it up) there was plenty of algae. The population of Zebra mussels exploded across the lake’s floor with up to 10,000 mussels per square yard.
By 2010, the GLEA recorded a noticeable reduction in the amount of zooplankton. The reduction of zooplankton was caused by the Zebra mussels consuming so much of the algae that the zooplankton no longer had a sufficient supply of food. In 2015 it was reported that the clarity of the lake had significantly improved. By this time Zebra mussels had consumed so much of the lake’s algae (the zooplankton’s food source) that the lake was becoming noticeably clearer. With the shortage of algae for food some species of zooplankton are less able to adapt and will begin to die off, as implied by not finding them in a recent zooplankton survey. Zebra mussels appear to have adapted to the low food environment by remaining small.
So what will happen, as the food shortage caused by the Zebra mussels moves up the food chain? It will reduce the number of fish at each level until a new lower but sustainable number of fish at all levels is reached. The same thing that happened to the zooplankton will happen to all fish in the food chain and it is the same thing that always happens in the animal world when there is a food shortage. Adding to this (2011-2012) the DNR dumped Muskie fingerlings into Geneva Lake (an invasive species for Geneva Lake) which further amplified and endangered the native species within the lake.
The Geneva Shore Report senses trouble coming for Geneva Lake fishermen and the people who eat the wonderful fresh fish. The GLEA will produce a report that will be analytically polished and correct. It will probably re-state, using much more accurate and scientifically proven terminology, exactly what the GSR is predicting. The GLEA will also probably not state that people (human beings) are the ultimate consumers at the end of that algae food chain.
How Much Muscle does this Mussel have?
FUN events in Our Place
Phytoplankton and copepods are the first two steps in the plankton food chain