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Bad news in today’s blog post.  It is very important that every user of Nebraska’s waters is aware of this and what they can do about it!

Zebra Mussels Found at Lewis and Clark Lake

LINCOLN – Cooperation from boaters and anglers is urgently needed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species following the discovery of zebra mussels in Lewis and Clark Lake in northeast Nebraska.

Earlier this week, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks found adult zebra mussels in a marina on the South Dakota side of the lake. Subsequently, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission found zebra mussels on boat ramps at Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area’s (SRA) Weigand Marina. Mussels also have been found in the Missouri River just below Gavins Point Dam.

Game and Parks personnel are working with officials from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, several federal agencies and local authorities to increase education on aquatic invasive species, increase boat inspections and enforcement of regulations, along with monitoring to determine the distribution of the mussels.

The impacts of zebra mussels on the Lewis and Clark and Missouri River are hard to predict, but they have been known to have significant economic and ecological consequences. It is important to prevent their spread to even more waters used by boaters and anglers who had recently been on these zebra mussel-contaminated waters.

Anglers and boaters should take the following precautions to prevent the introduction or spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species:

— By law, a boat that has been on a water body may not leave a launch area with water still present in any compartment, equipment or container that may hold water. Drain water on site. Dump any baitfish in the trash or at a fish-cleaning station on site.

— By law, a boat or trailer may not leave a launch area with any aquatic vegetation from that water body still attached.

— By law, a boat may not arrive at or leave any water body in Nebraska with water other than from a domestic source, except for fire-fighting purposes.

— Clean, drain and dry your boat. Zebra mussels can survive out of water for up to two weeks. After boating in infested water and before launching your boat in a different water body: pressure wash the boat with hot water (preferably more than 140 degrees F) and rinse equipment with hot water. Run water out of the lower unit upon exiting the water body. Spraying the boat and live wells with vinegar and letting it soak for 20 minutes can also kill zebra mussels. The best way to prevent the spread is to allow the boat, all compartments and equipment to dry for at least five days before launch into a different water body.

Lewis and Clark SRA is located 7 miles north of Crofton in Knox County.

For more information on aquatic invasive species, visit neinvasives.com.

OffuttZebra5
Zebra mussels covering a rock at Offutt Air Force Base lake.

I told you last fall that one, 1 single adult zebra mussel was found in the marina on the South Dakota side of Lewis & Clark Reservoir, News on the Aquatic Invasive Species Front.  As was feared at that time, that one adult zebra mussel was not the only one in Lewis & Clark Reservoir.  Regrettably, more have been found this summer.

Lewis & Clark is very popular for water sports and fishing.  If EVERYONE is not aware of the presence of zebra mussels and the threat of them being spread to other waters, we will end up with zebra mussels being unknowingly transported from Lewis & Clark to a lot of other bodies of water.  In almost all cases, once the zebras show up, there is not going to be a darned thing that can be done about them.  I will not tell you that they will be an ecological and economic disaster, but potentially they can be, and we need to keep them out of as many waters as possible.

You likely are NOT going to find adult zebra mussels on your watercraft unless you leave them in the water for the summer.  However, zebra mussel larvae (called “veligers”) are microscopic and are transported in water.  If you do not do everything possible to Clean, Drain, and Dry your watercraft after every use, you can transport zebra mussel larvae without even knowing they have hitched a ride.

Be aware, be educated, do your part!

Dont-Move-A-Mussel

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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