News Releases

Clean! Drain! Dry! Boaters asked to help stop spread of invasive species

May 21, 2019

Columbus, Neb. – Cool temperatures in recent days may cause some boaters to wait a little longer to venture into local lakes to kick off the summer boating season this Memorial Day weekend. Nebraska Public Power District wants to alert boaters of the issue of invasive species and remind them of three simple words: Clean. Drain. Dry.

By doing so it will help stop a continuing problem of zebra mussels spreading into lakes and rivers across the Midwest and into Nebraska… and the public can help stop it. Zebra mussels, which look like snails or clams, are small but destructive. They damage boats, clog water intakes and impact the environment of lakes and rivers where they live.

Zebra mussels multiply quickly and, while only the size of a fingernail individually; they attach in groups to solid objects in the water and cause big problems. They have caused millions of dollars in damage to water systems and fisheries across the country, and have been found in recent years in lakes and rivers in and around Nebraska.

Why is this important to Nebraska Public Power District?  NPPD uses water in the generation of electricity at three key locations including Gerald Gentleman Station by the 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 helps provide low cost, reliable electricity rather than spending ratepayers’ money to control the species.

“Zebra mussels spread by attaching to a boat and hitching a ride to the next body of water. Their microscopic larvae can survive in water left in a boat, live well, or bait bucket,” NPPD Environmental Manager Joe Citta commented.

The Nebraska Invasive Species Program recommends all boaters clean, drain and dry.

  • Clean your boat 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 water from the boat, motor, live wells, ballast tanks and any other equipment holding water. If draining water is not an option, using a cup of diluted bleach will kill zebra mussels.
  • Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely before arriving at the next launch ramp to go boating or fishing.

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

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