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Aquatic Invasive Species Reminder

Making sure the “word” gets spread on this, again:

Game and Parks urges boaters to Clean, Drain and Dry to stop invasive species

LINCOLN, Neb. – While many Nebraska boaters are eager to enjoy a summer day on the lake, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission urges them to be wary of a nasty hitchhiker: the zebra mussel.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Game and Parks watercraft inspectors found two boats with zebra mussels attached attempting to launch. Each boat was inspected and not allowed to launch with viable zebra mussels. Watercraft inspectors are present throughout the state this summer at various water bodies to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Zebra mussels can live up to two weeks out of water and young zebra mussels – or veligers – are invisible to the naked eye and can be spread through any water left undrained. Boaters should clean all visible plants, mud, or animals, drain all water within the boat, including the motor, and dry their boat for five days before going to another water body.

Game and Parks regulations require anglers, hunters and boaters conduct clean, drain and dry procedures before leaving a water body; they also are not allowed to arrive at a new one with any water from another water body.

“Frankly, we need the public’s help this summer,” said Kristopher Stahr, Game and Parks aquatic invasive species program manager. “Once established, zebra mussels can be devastating to a water body and prevention is the best tool we have. Surrounding states have been greatly impacted by zebra mussel invasions, and we want to keep Nebraska waters invasive-free, now and for future generations.”

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.

Visit stopaquatichitchhikers.org for more details on the Clean, Drain, Dry Procedure and neinvasives.com for information about invasive species in the state.

The public is encouraged to report any suspected observation of zebra mussels or other aquatic invasive species to Game and Parks at 402-471-7602 or at ngpc.ais@nebraska.gov.

Now, let me add some comments and photos. . . .

As the news release said, an adult zebra mussel was found attached to a boat that was launching.  Can you see it?

ZM2_Transom

Look closer, a lot closer:

ZM3_TransomClose

Need some perspective?  How about this:

ZM1_AloneClose

The boat from which those pictures were taken had been in the water for some time on another waterbody.  That is why there was an ADULT zebra mussel attached.  Remember, transporting water in your boat is even more risky!  In most cases you are NOT going to see adult zebra mussels attached to your boat.  In most cases the risk is from microscopic LARVAE in the water.  You are not going to see them!  Assume they are present and make sure to CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY, every time, every waterbody!

cleandraindry

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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