mission_lake: zebra mussel edition

            mission_lake is a collective name for a series of actions taken to preserve Lake Ontario and to highlight its value for residents whose lives depend on it.

in this edition, the zebra mussel was chosen as the main target for the mission. it is a small freshwater mussel that has been labelled as an invasive species by Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program. it has spread in Lake Ontario and in the City of Toronto’s water pipelines and has become troublesome for factories/facilities around the lake shore. in Ontario, zebra mussels cost the government $75-91 million per year.

image source: http://media.jrn.com/images/2000*1251/b99289167z.1_20140611224929_000_gnu6jrdv.1-1.jpg

image source: http://media.jrn.com/images/2000*1251/b99289167z.1_20140611224929_000_gnu6jrdv.1-1.jpg

zebra mussels as production material

because of zebra mussels' environmental and economic impact, we have decided to create a system that can not only raise awareness about this invasive species but also generate potential profit from products made from zebra mussels. a system has been created for a process of “locating - sourcing - producing - using” zebra mussel as a material for educational activities and also as raw material for a series of products.

system map

the diagrams begin by outlining how zebra mussels affect two different stakeholders - boat owners and fishermen.

the system will now purchase the zebra mussels from fishermen and use them as the main source of collecting raw material. zebra mussels like to attach themselves onto smooth surfaces like engine propellers which affects our second stakeholder and first group of users (green diagrams) - boat owners. we will collaborate with yacht clubs to hold events to educate boat owners about how to properly remove zebra mussels from their boats and how to prevent their spread. at the same time, we will be able to collect a small amount of zebra mussels for production. once the zebra mussels are collected, we will prepare the shell for product production including the process of drying, grinding and a special mixing to turn these mussels into a fast drying slip casting material. three products were designed using this unique material, a descaler, a whistle and a trivet.

zebra mussel trivet

select local sustainable fishmongers/cooking classes will sell the trivets to their customers and educate them on zebra mussels (orange diagrams). The trivet is shown in photographs on the poster. all the profit from the events and products will be donated to Great Lakes Fishery Commission for further research on invasive species and sustainable fishery.