Zebra mussels found after stolen car pulled from Kansas lake

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Kansas wildlife officials say invasive zebra mussels have been found in a fishing lake after game wardens pulled a stolen car from the water. 

The Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said in a release that game wardens used sonar to locate the vehicle submerged in Osage State Fishing Lake in Osage County. 

"While removing it from the lake, the officers discovered a small number adult zebra mussels attached to the vehicle," the release said. "The officers alerted KDWPT fisheries staff, who then verified the discovery."

The release did not provide further information about the stolen vehicle. 

The lake, located about 20 miles south of Topeka, is popular for fishing and camping.

"While the zebra mussel population is currently small, there is no known method to completely rid a lake of this invasive species. Zebra mussels produce microscopic larvae called veligers that cannot be seen with the naked eye. At Kansas lakes with established zebra mussel populations, there may be as many as 1,000 veligers in a single gallon of lake water," said Chris Steffen, KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator.

Prevention is the best way to avoid spreading aquatic nuisance species. They often travel by "hitchhiking" with unsuspecting lake-goers.

"Remembering to clean, drain, and dry boats and equipment before moving between waterbodies is the key to preventing the spread of zebra mussels. If everyone took these precautions, we could stop the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species," Steffen said.

  • After using any body of water, the department urges lakegoers to follow the following regulations and precautions:
  • 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 about aquatic nuisance species in Kansas, report a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit ProtectKSWaters.org

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