Could affect Council Grove Reservoir, Emporia water supply
PRATT — In late June, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) research biologists received a report that a zebra mussel had been found in Council Grove City Lake. On June 28, aquatic nuisance species (ANS) specialist Jason Goeckler, fisheries biologist Craig Johnson, and a fisheries aide spent the day searching for zebra mussels in the lake and found two near the location of the initial report. In addition, plankton samples yielded one veliger, zebra mussel in larval form.

"The find is significant for several reasons," Goeckler said. "This is the water supply for the city of Council Grove; this lake connects to Council Grove Reservoir during high water; and downstream, the water supply for Emporia could be impacted. The entire Neosho River drainage will have zebra mussels as they spread downstream out of the city lake and from Marion Reservoir on the Cottonwood River. This is just another new infestation that costs the Kansas economy and impacts our way of life, and it could have been prevented."

Goeckler and his team also collected plankton samples from Council Grove Reservoir and the Neosho River at Emporia. Results are pending lab analysis. In the meantime, anyone with information about the release of zebra mussels into Council Grove City Lake is encouraged to contact Operation Game Thief, 1-877-426-3843, or KDWP's Emporia Research Office, 620-342-0658.

This is the ninth Kansas water body where zebra mussels have been found. If all boaters and lake users adhere to the following simple steps, zebra mussel spread could be checked:

Before leaving a lake

  • Clean — inspect equipment for anything that doesn’t belong — including plants, animals, and mud — and remove it; and
  • Drain — drain all water from equipment and if fishing, dispose of bait properly on the shore or in an approved trash receptacle. Never dump bait back into a lake.

Before using at another lake

  • Dry — thoroughly dry equipment for five days or wash it with hot water if it is needed before the five days have expired (140 degree water for 10 seconds contact time will kill zebra mussels).

The "clean, drain, dry" procedure means cleaning, draining, and drying all equipment — including boats, tackle, waders, and any other equipment used on the water — before moving it from one body of water to another.

To help stem the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species (ANS), KDWP has developed an online study and test site where water users can be wise users when it comes to ANS. Go to the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, and click " Aquatic Nuisance Species" under "Today's Links" to learn all about these destructive species in Kansas and link to ANS Education Course and Voluntary Certification. Educational information is displayed in video, text, and image form. After reviewing this material, participants can take a quiz with scenario-based questions to test what they've learned. Those who complete the process can then print a certificate proving that they have taken this short course.

The impact of zebra mussels on fisheries can be profound. Zebra mussels eat by filtering microscopic food from the water. Young fish and native mussels rely on this same microscopic food to survive. Economic impacts are as grim as environmental impacts. Due to zebra mussels in intake and discharge pipes, municipalities, utilities, and industries have incurred significant costs associated with monitoring, cleaning, and controlling infestations. For example, Wichita recently allocated more than $2 million to upgrade water treatment facilities to deal with zebra mussels from Cheney Reservoir.

Zebra mussels also have sharp shells that can cut the unprotected skin of people and animals. Federal legislation has been passed to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels. If an individual is caught transporting live zebra mussels into Kansas, they may face up to six months in jail and fines up to $5,000.