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Zebra mussels found at Cottonwood Point

Boaters must be careful not to contribute to their spread

Staff writer

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has confirmed that zebra mussels are in Marion Reservoir.

Boaters need to take precautions to prevent further spreading.

An angler reported finding a single zebra mussel this past weekend in the Cottonwood Point Area. KDWP biologist Jason Goeckler investigated the report and found two juvenile mussels, indicating that reproduction of mussels at the reservoir had occurred.

So, what’s the big deal? Zebra mussels reproduce rapidly. New populations can expand quickly and cause great damage both economically and environmentally.

The mussels attach to hard surfaces such as rocks, piers, and flooded timbers. They also may attach to pipes, water intake structures, boat hulls, and motor lower units often clogging them to the point of malfunctioning.

Zebra mussels eat by filtering microscopic food from water. Young fish and native mussels rely on the same microscopic food to survive.

The mussels have sharp shells that can cut unprotected skin of people and animals.

Economic impacts are as grim as the ecosystem impacts. Zebra mussels in intake/discharge pipes, municipalities, utilities, and industries have incurred significant costs associated with monitoring, cleaning, and controlling infestations.

Boaters are asked to closely inspect boats and trailers as they move from one body of water to another to prevent further spreading.

This is the first time zebra mussels have been found in the Cottonwood River, a tributary of the Neosho River.

Last modified July 31, 2008

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