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    Stewardship Tip: Zebra Mussels

    By Anna | July 29, 2014

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    Unfortunately, zebra mussels, at least locally, are back in the news:

    “The presence of invasive zebra mussels has been confirmed at Offutt Base Lake near Bellevue (NE).”

    Zebra mussels, originally native to the Black and Caspian Seas, were introduced into the Great Lakes in ballast water from international ships traversing the St. Lawrence Seaway. They are filter feeders and, because they are prolific, can outcompete many native species. Since they are invasive, they have no natural predators and, hence, no checks against their spread. Since their introduction, they have spread to many states in the Eastern U.S. They have also spread to Utah, Colorado, and California.

    Anglers and boaters can take simple precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species. These precautions apply to any body of water that is infected with zebra mussels, not just Office Base Lake:

    Clean hanging weeds and any aquatic hitchhikers from your boat, trailer, and equipment.
    Remove any mud from your boat, trailer, and equipment.
    Clean and disinfect live wells with one part bleach to 10 parts water. Rinse with clean water afterward.
    Drain water from the lower unit of your motor by lowering the outboard when the boat is pulled out of the water at the ramp. Routinely pull your drain plug while you’re at the back of the boat. Automatic or manual bilge pumps do not remove all water from your boat. Pulling your plug is important if you don’t want to bring new, potentially infected lake water to the next lake you visit. Allow all water to drain from your boat and motor.
    Clean and dry your waders. Clean and dry your wader boots, this is especially true if you are using felt-soled wader boots.
    A thorough inspection and cleaning of all equipment that touches the water will help to ensure that you don’t help to spread zebra mussels.

     

    (photo credit: /www.dnr.state.mn.us/)

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