GLSPS divers braved cold conditions October 13th and 14th to continue the mussel population monitoring and clean up trash on the wreck of the whaleback steamer, Thomas Wilson, outside Duluth. Divers Bill Wallace, Jack Decker, Paul Imsland, and Ken Merryman gathered with project leader Tim Pranke, GLSPS President and Captain Phil Kerber aboard the R/V Preservation.
Poor visibility was still present from the June floods and postponed the original September date. The move to mid October was a risky one with the likelihood of fall storms, but Mother Superior granted a reprieve with almost dead calm surface conditions and moderate ambient temperatures. Water temp was 41 degrees top to bottom, with a similar air temp. The cold temps along with 10-15 ft of vis limited the scope of this year’s project. Valuable data was none the less gathered about the zebra/quaga mussel infestation, deterioration of the wreck, and impact of the flooding.
The zebra mussel population is growing at a slow rate, while the quaga mussel population has increased greatly. The test site that was cleared of mussels in 2009 has a health population of quaga mussels. Also noted was the collapse of much of the cabin deck, and a large accumulation of garbage and flood debris.
Research and discussion will continue on what could or can be done to slow the mussel growth. Keep your eye out for next year’s project dates. We are going to attempt to contact the local DNR and UMD and try to colaberate our efforts in monitoring this issue. If you want to get involved with monitoring and protecting this fabulous shipwreck the Thomas Wilson, please contact Tim Pranke (Project Leader) for more information.
Please Note: We will be updating our data spreadsheet that we produced throughout the last three years of this project. It will represent the difference from year to year on the Zebra and Quaga Mussels counts. It will be completed for you to view soon. Please check back later.
Thomas Wilson Project 2012 Attendees:
Tim Pranke, Jack Decker, Ken Merryman, Bill Wallace, Paul Imsland, and Phil Kerber
I would like to thank all those involved for their time and effort to make this late season project happen