NPPD Concerned about the spreading of Zebra Mussels

May 31, 2018 - 12:32pm

The spread of zebra mussels through Nebraska rivers and lakes over recent years is a growing concern for the Nebraska Public Power District. Senior Environment Specialist, Justin King says the numbers of the invasive species have risen quickly.

"In the last two years, we’ve basically went from zero zebra mussels in the Missouri River, to fairly infested." King said.

Zebra mussels are primarily transferred by boats, so NPPD advises all boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats to prevent the spread of them throughout Nebraska.

These small creatures that look like a snail or clam can clog pipes and drainage tubes leading to treatment or power plants. They can also be harmful to fisheries and ecosystems due to their tendency to bioaccumulate and release different toxins when consumed by other animals such as birds or fish. The shells from these mussels can cause other problems, too.

"The waves will push the shells up onto the beaches, and it’s not uncommon for people to cut their feet as their walking on the beaches." King said.

Nebraska Public Power District says the cost to eliminate zebra mussels can run into the millions of dollars.

 More tips on how to prevent zebra mussels from spreading to new bodies of water can be found at www.neinvasives.com.

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