Prevent the Spread of Zebra Mussels

Into Our Lake!


Zebra Mussels cause IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO LAKES.Take every possible precaution to keep them out of our lake.


Prior to putting any vessel, tube, bait bucket, anything that has been in another body of water into our lake, you must take the following steps.


Clean. Drain. Dry. Three simple, but important words. Thats the message from the Nebraska Invasive Species Project.


CLEAN Remove all plants, animals, and mud, then thoroughly wash everything, including all crevices and other hidden areas on your boat and equipment, or anything that was in another body of water outside of North Lake.


DRAIN Eliminate all water before leaving the area, including wells, ballast, and engine colling water.


DRY Allow time for your boat to completely dry before launching in other waters. At least 5 days prior to putting into North Lake.


Zebra mussels spread to new waterways when boats carrying mussels from infested waters are put into uncontaminated rivers or lakes.

The most important way for boaters to address the spread of zebra mussels is to check their equipment for these aquatic hitchhikers and remove any visible mud, plants, from the boat, fish, or animals. What may appear to be harmless species, such as the zebra mussels, have been known to travel in ballast water, attached to boats, and transported between reservoirs.Clean, drain, and dry all equipment that comes into contact with the water. If there is a place for water to collect, there is a chance that zebra mussels or other similar invasive species may be transported, including on boat trailers.

Boaters should drain the bilges and live wells in their boats, and if unable to be drained, a cup of bleach can be added to kill any live mussels.

It is also a good idea to dry the boat for several days before its next use. If possible, power-wash the boat, motor, and trailer to scour off invisible juvenile mussels.


If you have had your boat in another body of water, you must have it sit out of any water for a week. Clean, drain, dry.


If you have been tubing, kayaking, canoeing, walking, or fishing in the Platte River,

YOU MUST wash off all materials that were used in the water. This includes your dog! Please rinse everything, dry everything, and let it all sit out of water for at least 5 days before putting them back in the North Lake!


If minnow buckets are used on another body of water, they also need to be cleaned and dried out.


DO NOT put any minnows or fish caught in the Platte River, or any other body of water in our lake.

What are zebra and quagga mussels?


Zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater bivalve mollusks (animals with two shells). They are relatives of clams and oysters. It is very difficult to tell the two species apart in the field. The shell color of both mussels alternates between a yellowish and darker brown, often forming stripes. Larvae are microscopic whereas adults can reach up to two inches long. The zebra mussel is nearly triangular in shape and the quagga mussel is more rounded. Unlike native North American freshwater mussels, which burrow in soft sediment, adult zebra and quagga mussels can attach via small byssal threads to hard surfaces.

Both zebra and quagga mussels can survive cold waters but cannot tolerate freezing. They can endure temperatures between 130C (3386F). Zebra mussels need waters above 10C (50F) to reproduce while quagga mussels can reproduce in waters as cold as 9C (48F). The embryos are microscopic. The larvae, called veligers, are planktonic and free-floating. The veligers float in the water column or are carried in the current for about four to eight weeks. The larvae develop shells and settle onto any solid surface, including the skin or shells of native aquatic species. Zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian Seas. Zebra mussels were discovered in the Great Lakes in 1988. Quagga mussels are native to the Dnieper River Drainage in the Ukraine and were first found in the Great Lakes in 1989. Both species have since spread to more than 25 states.


They have recreational impacts.

These mussels encrust docks and boats. Attached mussels increase drag on boats. Small mussels can get into engine cooling systems causing overheating and damage. Increased hull and motor fouling will result in increased maintenance costs on watercraft moored for long periods of time. The weight of attached mussels can sink navigational buoys.

Zebra and quagga mussels also impact fish populations and reduce sport-fishing opportunities. Their sharp shells can cut the feet of unsuspecting swimmers and beach goers.