The dime-size mollusks, zebra mussels,  are not native to Kansas, but have invaded Paola City Lake. Submitted photo

The dime-size mollusks, zebra mussels, are not native to Kansas, but have invaded Paola City Lake. Submitted photo

There are invasive zebra mussels in Paola City Lake, also known as Lake Miola.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism confirmed it after an angler snagged an old fishing rod with live adult zebra mussels attached to it.
KDWPT officials say the mussels’ population appears to be well-established. There is no known method to completely rid a lake of the nuisance species.
Zebra mussels are dime-sized mollusks with striped, sharp-edged, two-part shells. They can produce huge populations in a short time and do not require a host fish to reproduce. A large female zebra mussel can produce 1 million eggs, and then fertilized eggs develop into microscopic veligers that are invisible to the naked eye. Veligers drift in the water for at least two weeks before they settle out as young mussels which quickly grow to adult size and reproduce within a few months.
As populations increase, the zebra mussels attach their shells to submerged hard surfaces including pipes, intake structures and boat hulls. They can clog intake pipes and prevent water treatment and electrical generating plants from drawing water.
In 2012, two Kansas communities, Council Grove and Osage City, experienced temporary water shortages from zebra mussel infestations before water intake structures could be cleaned up. Removing large numbers of zebra mussels to ensure adequate water flow can be labor-intensive and costly.
Zebra mussels are not native to Kansas. They are native to the Black and Caspian seas of western Asia and Eastern Europe. They were spread around the world in the ballast of cargo ships. First discovered in the U.S. in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River in 1988, the mussels quickly spread through the Great Lakes and other rivers including the Mississippi, Illinios, Ohio and Hudson rivers. They were first discovered in Kansas in 2003 at El Dorado Reservoir. Moving water in boats and bait buckets has been identified as a likely vector.
Zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian seas of western Asia and eastern Europe and   were spread around the world in the ballast water of cargo ships. They were discovered in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River in 1988 and quickly spread throughout the Great Lakes and other rivers including the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas and Hudson. They were first discovered in Kansas in 2003 at El Dorado Reservoir. Despite public education efforts to alert boaters about the dangers of zebra mussels and how to prevent spreading them, the species continues to show up in new lakes every year. The mussels often travel by hitchhiking in the moving waters in boats and bait buckets.
Hillsdale Reservoir, near Lake Miola and a source of water for Gardner, does not appear to have zebra mussels at this point. State officials advice that prevention is the best way to avoid the spread of the nuisance species.
“Always clean, drain and dry boats and other equipment such as skis, life jackets and water toys before using another lake,” said Jessica Howell, KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator. “Also, don’t transfer lake water or live fish to another body of water. This can help stop the spread of not only zebra mussels, but most aquatic nuisance species that may be present.”
The Paola City Lake will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the reservoir. 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 local 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.