Zebra mussels, an invasive species of mussel named for their striped shells, were first discovered in the Great Lakes in the late 1980s.
Since then, the mussels have spread to all five of the lakes, covering lake bottoms, intake pipes, marinas and boats, and their sharp shells litter the beaches.
Take a look at the U.S. Geological Survey’s up-to-date map keeping track of the spread of zebra mussels around the country.
But some more enterprising individuals have found ways to make new uses of these troublesome invasives:
- The Golden Cleat is a New York jewelry store overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The company designed a collection of zebra mussel jewelry with the goal of “invoking a sense of wonder for the natural world and at the same time sparking conversations about invasive species.” You can buy the earrings, pendants or necklaces starting from $30 in sterling silver or gold in a variety of sizes and designs HERE.
- Shells make great materials for crafts or decorations, either crushed or kept whole. You can buy two cups of cleaned Lake Michigan zebra mussel shells from a craft supply store on Etsy for $4.50 plus shipping HERE.
- Interested in wearing some real zebra mussels? You can find a pair of zebra mussel earrings on Poshmark for $5 HERE.
- Want to eat zebra mussels but not crazy about the taste of mollusk? Make your own with THIS zebra mussel-shaped chocolate mold.
If you come across any other creative ideas, comment and share!
Featured Image: Cleaned and sorted zebra mussel shells from Lake Michigan from NaturesCraftSupply on Etsy