A ship propeller encrusted with zebra mussels. NPS/Flickr

The zebra mussel has been a poster youngster for invasive species ever because it unleashed financial and ecological havoc on the Nice Lakes within the late Eighties. But regardless of intensive efforts to manage it and its relative, the quagga mussel, these fingernail-sized mollusks are spreading via U.S. rivers, lakes, and bays, clogging water provide pipes and altering meals webs.

Now, the mussels threaten to succeed in the nation’s final main uninfested freshwater zones to the west and north: the Columbia River Basin in Washington and Oregon and the waterways of Alaska.

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