Wildlife and Parks working with city to contain infestation;
lake-user help essential
WINFIELD -- The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has confirmed that zebra mussels have been found in Winfield City Lake. The agency was informed of the possibility of zebra mussels in the lake after a local angler brought what he thought were zebra mussels to lake manager John Crow's office the week of Dec. 18. Crow called district fisheries biologist Craig Johnson who in turn notified KDWP aquatic nuisance species specialist Jason Goeckler. KDWP investigated and found zebra mussels throughout the lake.
"It's unfortunate that these mussels have spread to another lake," says Goeckler. "Zebra mussels reproduce rapidly. Once introduced, new populations can expand quickly and cause great damage both economically and environmentally. They can rapidly attach to and cover any hard structure in water, including native mussels, pipes, water supply structures, rocks, piers, flooded timber, boat hulls, and aquatic motor parts, often clogging them to the point of malfunction. Once zebra mussels become established, they are nearly impossible to eradicate."
The zebra mussel is a fingernail-sized, D-shaped mollusk that typically has a dark and white (zebra-like) pattern on the shell. Since introduction into the United States in 1988, it has rapidly spread from the Great Lakes Region to Midwestern streams, El Dorado Reservoir (in 2003), and now to Winfield City Lake.
Once zebra mussels were introduced in Kansas, a network of concerned parties was established. KDWP will work with the city of Winfield and others to ensure an effective management plan is followed.
"KDWP is currently working with the city of Winfield to mitigate the zebra mussel infestation," says Goeckler. "Because this infestation is relatively new, well-informed management actions are necessary to ensure the zebra mussels are not further spread and that the affect to water users can be minimized.
"With winter upon us, zebra mussel reproduction has temporarily ceased, and lake use is low," Goeckler continues. "This is a good time to prepare for the upcoming year. That said, lake users need to be aware of the situation and take precautions when using Winfield City Lake."
Zebra mussel larvae are free-floating and microscopic, which enables aquatic users to unknowingly transport them between water bodies. All Winfield City Lake users must adhere to the following precautions to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels:
• learn to identify aquatic nuisance species, such as zebra mussels;
• never move fish from one body of water to another;
• empty bait buckets on dry land, not into lakes;
• inspect boats, trailers, skis, anchors, and all other equipment and remove any visible organisms and vegetation; and
• wash equipment with 140-degree water, a 10-percent chlorine and water solution, or dry for at least five days to remove or kill species that are not visible. Phone 620-342-0658 or email jasong@wp.state.ks.us if any nuisance species are found.
For general information about zebra mussels, click here