Don’t move a mussel!

May 23, 2016

NPPD encourages boaters to clean, drain, and dry their boats

Columbus, Neb. – Don’t move a mussel!

That’s the message Nebraska Public Power District is sending to recreational boaters and fishermen to help prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussels into lakes and waterways of Nebraska. Moving a mussel can result in problems for both the body of water and its uses for utilities and recreational activities.

The zebra mussel is one of many invasive species that has clogged cooling intake structures of power plants and other utilities along the Great Lakes as well as inflicting millions of dollars in damage to recreation, water systems and fisheries. Over the past few years, zebra mussels have been found in or near Nebraska waters, most recently in 2015 at Lewis & Clark Lake along the Nebraska-South Dakota border.

Why is this important to NPPD?  The District utilizes water in the generation of electricity at several locations including Gerald Gentleman Station by Sutherland Reservoir, at the North Platte Hydroelectric Plant, and at Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville along the Missouri River. Keeping these aquatic invasive species at bay and preventing clogging of intake lines is the better way to provide low cost, reliable electricity rather than spending ratepayers’ money to control the species.

“We have been fortunate over the past few years that we have not been impacted at any of our power plants, but we need boaters to be aware of the potential of unknowingly transporting aquatic hitchhikers,” NPPD Environmental Manager Joe Citta explained.

Citta says boaters should follow three steps to make a difference in keeping Nebraska waters free from zebra mussels and other invasive species. “They need to clean the boat, drain the boat, and dry the boat,” he said. “If it’s done properly, and systematically, this can be accomplished in a short amount of time.”

The Nebraska Invasive Species Program recommends the following:

  • Clean after boating and before leaving the launch to remove all visible plants, animals, fish and mud from the boat, trailer or other equipment and dispose of the debris in a suitable trash container or on dry land. Power washing the boat and trailer is another option.
  • Drain after boating and before leaving the launch by draining water from the bilge, live wells, ballast tanks and any other equipment holding water. If draining water not an option, using a cup of diluted bleach will kill off the zebra mussel.
  • Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely before arriving at the next launch ramp to go boating or fishing.

Tips for preventing zebra mussels being introduced into Nebraska bodies of water are available through the Nebraska Invasive Species Program at www.neinvasives.com.

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