Iowa boaters who ply the waters of the Missouri River are now getting the same warning about zebra mussels boaters have been hearing across the rest of the state.
Officials say the invasive mussels are now being found in every part of the Missouri River between Iowa and Nebraska. Dave Tunink, with Nebraska Game and Parks Division, says there’s no easy way to kill zebra mussels, but you can try to control them.
“Their biggest issue is the impact on infrastructure, like power plants, intakes, boat docks, and stuff like that, where they encrust them with several layers of zebra mussels,” Tunink says. “They also have negative impacts on native mussels and native crustaceans, like crayfish. They’ll attach right to them and smother them.” The mussels reproduce and move quickly and Tunink says they’ll attach to anything in the water.
“They clamp on pretty good and for cleaning pipes, they have to use scrapers, brushes, power washers,” he says. “They’re not easy to get off.” He says boats, trailers and motors need to be cleaned, and any lake or river water emptied before moving on.
“Spray it down. Let it sit there for 20 minutes and then you can rinse it out. But if you’re draining the water, you want to drain it right at the boat dock, so you don’t take it someplace else,” Tunink says. “Don’t move any water, don’t move any mud and don’t move any vegetation.” He says boaters also need to take fish out of their live well when leaving a lake or river, adding, it’s best to dry out the well, but you can use vinegar to clean it, too.
(Thanks to Mike Loizzo, Nebraska Radio Network)