KDWPT reports no sign of zebra mussels in over 100 Kansas lakes

KDWPT reports no sign of zebra mussels in over 100 Kansas lakes KDWPT Courtesy Photo

Good news is being reported from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in regards to the spread of aquatic nuisance species in bodies of water across the state.

According to a recent press release from KDWPT, KDWPT aquatic nuisance species coordinator Chris Steffen reports in 2018 samplings from 110 uninfested lakes in Kansas showed no presence of zebra mussel larvae. Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) are animals and plants not native to Kansas that can threaten lake and river ecology, harm native or desirable species and interfere with our economy. They often hitchhike in or on boats, flotation devices, and other gear used in the water.

Zebra mussels in water can also present serious risks if the body of water serves as a supply for cities and towns. The mussels may become lodged into tubes and pumps and as zebra mussels filter pollution out of water can lead to said pollution entering water supplies.

In the KVOE listening area, Council Grove and Osage City were the first communities to deal with zebra mussels, doing so in 2012. According to Emporia City Water Plant Manager Phil Cooper, a few years ago Osage City was pumping water out of Melvern Lake when they discovered piping from the reservoir was impacted with zebra mussels. This led to the city having to revert over to the city lake for its water supply.

Once the water supply had been shut off to the impacted area the mussels eventually died off and crews had to clean out the pipes before they were able to reuse them. Cooper says this would be a major problem for Emporia as the city does not possess an alternate water source like Osage City.

Cooper tells KVOE News this led the city to become more "aggressive" when it comes to efforts to prevent zebra mussels from multiplying within basins. There are several ways they have done this one such way was the replacement of an aging traveling screen, a water filtration device that has a continuously moving mesh screen that is used to catch and remove debris, in 2013. While replacing the screen, crews switched it from a stainless steel screen to a copper screen which according to Cooper, zebra mussels are not fond of.

He adds, they also installed a copper ion system in 2013 which puts a copper solution into the water which prevents veligers, the final larva stage of certain mollusks, from swimming up pipes and making their way into the water plant.

According to the KDWPT, the results from the 110 tested waters are very encouraging as in the past densities of over 1,000 veligers per gallon have been recorded in some Kansas waters.

The KDWPT also wishes to remind residents of some simple steps they may take to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels between different bodies of water. These steps include:

* Clean, drain and dry boats and equipment between uses
* Use wild-caught bait only in the lake or pool where it was caught
* Do not move live fish from waters infested with zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species
* Drain live wells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway.

In the aformentioned press release from KDWPT, Steffen states “These results are encouraging, and I hope this success means that lake users in Kansas are more aware of how to prevent the movement of zebra mussels by cleaning, draining, and drying their boats and equipment before recreating at another lake."

For more information visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism's website at www.ksoutdoors.com

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Last modified on Friday, 01 February 2019 06:16