The presence of invasive zebra mussels has been confirmed in Hillsdale Reservoir in Miami County. On Wednesday, June 15, an alert angler found an adult zebra mussel at the Wade Branch of the reservoir and took it to the Hillsdale State Park Office. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) aquatic nuisance species staff subsequently found more zebra mussels on rocks and trees in the same area. The population appears to be low density at this time, however, there is no known method to completely rid a lake of zebra mussels.
“Since zebra mussel larvae, or veligers, are microscopic and undetectable to the naked eye, all users of Kansas lakes need to be aware that transfer of water between lakes can lead to further infestations,” said Jeff Koch, KDWPT Aquatic Research Biologist.
Prevention is the best way to avoid spreading Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS). They often travel by “hitchhiking” with unsuspecting lake-goers. “We encourage anyone who recreates on Kansas lakes to clean, drain, and dry their boats and equipment before using another lake. Additionally, don’t transfer lake water or live fish into another body of water, as this is a main transport vector of all aquatic nuisance species,” Koch added.
Hillsdale Reservoir and Bull Creek from the reservoir south to the Marais des Cygnes River will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the reservoir. Live fish may not be transported from ANS-designated waters.
The sharp-shelled zebra mussels attach to solid objects, so lake-goers should be careful when handling mussel-encrusted objects and when grabbing an underwater object when they can’t see what their hands may be grasping. Visitors should protect their feet when walking on underwater or shoreline rocks.
Zebra mussels are just one of the non-native aquatic species that threaten our waters and native wildlife. After using any body of water, people must remember to follow regulations and precautions that will prevent their spread:
- 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 livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway
For more information, to report the presence of a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit ProtectKSWaters.org.
For information about Hillsdale Reservoir, visit ksoutdoors.com.