Zebra mussels found in Wilson Lake

Kansas wildlife officials have confirmed the presence of zebra mussels at Wilson Lake, a 9,000-acre man-made impoundment about 60 miles west of Salina.

Jason Goeckler, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks aquatic nuisance species coordinator, said zebra mussels were found on several boats at the lake's marina and in the surrounding shallow water Thursday morning.

A tip from a man who found mussels while working on a boat came Wednesday afternoon.

Zebra mussels, which can clog intake valves at water and utility plants, have been confirmed in seven Kansas lakes.

El Dorado was the state's first in 2003. They were found in Cheney Reservoir in 2007, and in Marion Lake and Lake Afton last year.

More than a dozen states have the highly prolific creatures that can each produce tens of thousands of young per year.

They can be transported from one body of water to another on the hulls of boats, in bait buckets or anyplace in a boat that holds water.

Kansas is one of many states that has implemented programs educating boaters and anglers on how to prevent the spread of mussels.

"This could have been stopped," Goeckler said. "It's getting frustrating."

Goeckler said mussels coming down the Kansas River from Perry Lake are beginning to cause problems for a water-intake plant in Lawrence. They also can out-compete native fish and mollusks for food and habitat.

Wilson's central Kansas location puts several other lakes at risk.

"We have a new hub in the wheel now," Goeckler said. "Now they're close to lakes like Glen Elder, Kanopolis and Webster that are all around there."

For more information, go to www.kdwp.state.ks.us.