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Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Heightened at Harlan County Lake

LINCOLN – A recent incident at Harlan County Lake highlights the need for increased awareness and prevention of aquatic invasive species in Nebraska.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) technician doing field work at the lake on June 29 encountered a boat with attached zebra mussels. Before it was allowed to launch, the boat was detained, inspected, decontaminated and dried. It was determined that the mussels were dead and sufficient drying time had occurred to prevent introductions of mussels from this boat.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are investigating.

Aquatic invasive species, primarily zebra mussels, are a growing concern for Nebraska waters. Zebra mussels are small clams up to 2 inches long that grow in clusters and can form dense concentrations of up to thousands per square foot.

These mussels can cause considerable damage to boats, motors, docks, and other marine equipment. Water supplies and operations for industry, agriculture, and municipalities can also be negatively affected.

Efforts are underway by Game and Parks and partner agencies to raise awareness and prevention of zebra mussels. In conjunction with UNL, several technicians have been hired, trained and placed at strategic locations to help educate boaters and prevent zebra mussel introductions.

To prevent the spread of mussels, all boaters should follow three steps:

Clean – Remove all visible plants, animals, fish, and mud from your boat, trailer or other equipment and dispose of it properly before leaving the launch.

Drain – Remove water from motors, bilge, live wells, ballast tanks and any other locations with water before leaving the launch. Dump live bait on dry land and never move live fish between bodies of water.

Dry – Completely dry your boat, trailer and all equipment before arriving at the launch.

For more information, visit: http://neinvasives.com/.

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About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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