Is there a natural predator for zebra mussels?
The round goby is a natural predator. It's also an invasive species with its own set of pros and cons. Introduced through ballast water in the Great Lakes, just like zebra mussels, the round gobies will not completely eliminate zebra mussels because they generally avoid the largest mussel shells and cannot effectively feed on mussels that grow between rocks. However, they can reduce mussel numbers to some extent, particularly where mussel numbers are high. While a few ducks and freshwater fish will eat round gobies, they spread quickly and have negative effects on other native species, making them an ineffective way to control zebra mussels.
When I grew up in South Dakota, tree claims held wildlife. Why does it seem like Pheasants Forever and the DNR have to cut down any tree they find?
Generally speaking, outside of shelterbelts (shrubs and evergreens), trees and pheasants aren’t a great mix. Trees serve as predator perches for raptors like hawks, as well as havens for nest raiders like raccoons and skunks. And consider this: What’s more important is what the trees are replaced with – typically a shelterbelt more suitable for pheasants and other wildlife, or further enhancement to restore the area to grassland. The tree cutting is immediate and that’s what sticks in people’s mind, but visit that area in a couple years and you may be surprised how well wildlife respond. Habitat management takes some time!
Thanks for asking!