No one invited them, but zebra mussels are making themselves at home in Lake Manawa.
Low numbers of zebra mussels were found by officials after a homeowner reported seeing zebra mussels on rip-rap along his shoreline, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Kim Bogenschutz, the department’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program coordinator, said that the zebra mussels “probably arrived on or in a boat that had picked up the mussels from an infested water body, like the nearby Missouri River.”
Additional surveys at Lake Manawa this fall and next summer will monitor the abundance and distribution of the mussels.
Cunningham Lake in northwest Omaha has previously been drained to kill off the invasive species.
Zebra mussels look like small, D-shaped clams that have alternating light and dark bands. Most are less than an inch long. They are filter feeders that can form dense clusters as they attach to hard underwater surfaces.
Large infestations may interfere with aquatic food chains, kill native mussels, clog water intakes, increase algae blooms and cover beaches with dead shells.
Currently there is no effective treatment to control zebra mussels once they have infested a lake.
It is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels, in Iowa. Boaters must also drain all water from boats and equipment before they leave a water access and must keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport.
“Boaters and anglers can unintentionally spread zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species if they do not take the proper precautions to clean, drain, and dry after each time out on the water,” said Bogenschutz.
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