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Good Time for a Reminder

I suppose some might say I am too late, we now have snow and cold.  But, I am betting there is going to be some open water for a while yet.  Certainly, many are now taking docks, lifts and boats out of the water for the winter.  That means it is the perfect time to be on the lookout for unwanted zebra mussels.

Check boats, lifts, and docks for invasive aquatic hitchhikers as weather cools

LINCOLN, Neb. – As the weather turns cooler, Nebraskans are urged to check boats, boat lifts and docks for invasive species when removing them from water bodies for the winter.

Damaging aquatic hitchhikers like zebra mussels can live up to two weeks out of water, and several lakes across the Midwest are first noticed to be infested by people removing boats, lifts and docks for the winter.

Young zebra mussels – or veligers – are invisible to the naked eye and can be spread through drops of water left undrained. All boat lifts and docks should remain out of the water and dried for 21 days before placing them into another water body.

A zebra mussel is a highly invasive aquatic species that looks like a D-shaped clam, with alternating light and dark bands. Most zebra mussels are less than an inch long. They form dense colonies and filter large quantities of plankton from water, decreasing the food supply for native species. In addition, these mussels pollute swimming areas with sharp shells and clog water intake pipes.

The Missouri River has an existing zebra mussel population along its entire length downstream of Gavins Point Dam. Lewis and Clark Lake, Lake Yankton and the Offutt Base Lake are the only other confirmed Nebraska waters that have established zebra mussel populations.

“Once established, zebra mussels are almost impossible to remove or control, so prevention is the best tool we have to protect Nebraska’s water bodies,” said Kristopher Stahr, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission aquatic invasive species program manager. “We need the public’s help to ensure that the lakes and rivers we all enjoy remain free of invasive species.”

Game and Parks regulations require anglers, hunters and boaters conduct clean, drain and dry procedures before leaving a water body and are not allowed to arrive at a water body with any water from another water body. Visit stopaquatichitchhikers.org for details and for more information on aquatic invasive species.

Report any suspected observation of zebra mussels or other aquatic invasive species to Game and Parks at 531-500-3746 or at neinvasives.com.

zebra mussels in hand - KDecker
Karie Decker photo.

Adult zebra mussels attach to substrates and structures in the water.  If you are removing boat docks and lifts from the water for the winter, make sure to inspect them.  Look in the corners and cracks that had been below the water line.

BoatDock3

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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