LINCOLN — The presence of invasive zebra mussels has been confirmed at Offutt Base Lake near Bellevue.
On May 1, Dr. Dan James of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Pierre, SD, discovered live adult zebra mussels in Offutt Base Lake, while checking rocks in the shallow water. This discovery was confirmed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Invasive Species Program.
Beginning immediately, water from the Offutt Base Lake may not be removed from the lake in any manner, including via minnow buckets, containers carrying harvested fish and coolers. A subcommittee of the Nebraska Invasive Species Advisory Council plans to meet to discuss options for any future action. It is important that all anglers, boaters and recreational water users always clean, drain and dry their boats and equipment. Do not move any lake or stream water away from that area.
After conducting an intense sampling effort in June, numerous dead mussel shells were found on the shoreline along with several live adults attached to rocks, and numerous young (veligers) were collected in plankton tows.
In April, 2006, Offutt Base Lake, located on the Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue, Nebraska, became the first water body in Nebraska to have a confirmed population of zebra mussels. At that time a Nebraska Zebra Mussel Work Group was formed to develop an action plan, and in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 the lake was treated with copper sulfate in hopes of eradicating the zebra mussel population. Subsequent monitoring in 2009 was negative for zebra mussel larvae and adults. However, in October 2010, three live adults were found on a sampling disk, but no veligers were detected in subsequent sampling efforts. Since that time the lake has been considered a suspect water body since staff were unable to determine if the population had re-established.
Offutt Base Lake has been closed to all outside boat traffic since the initial discovery of zebra mussels in 2006. The Base does maintain some boats on the area for restricted use only on the Offutt Base Lake. With the re-establishment of zebra mussels, the potential for transport to nearby reservoirs is high.
For more information, contact the Nebraska Invasive Species Program at 402-472-3133 or visit neinvasives.com