State researchers say they found young zebra mussels in Cunningham Lake

State researchers say they found young zebra mussel in Cunningham Lake

John Hass says he remembers the last time officials drained Cunningham Lake.

"If they have to take the lake down again, that would be too bad," said Hass.

The first time, he says, it was because of storm runoff and erosion.

But now environmentalists are focused on fingernail sized critters called zebra mussels.

The state says it found young microscopic zebra mussels at Cunningham Lake this week.

Researchers say it's not an adult colony, and nothing like the zebra mussels that now plague the Missouri River and Offutt Base Lake in Bellevue.

"They're either brought in through water in an outboard motor or in a boat," said Dave Tunick from Nebraska Game and Parks, "or if they are attached to an outboard motor or the boat. We figure that's where they get established."

Lake Cunningham joins other "suspect lakes" including Carter and Zorinsky, of which had to be drained for zebra mussels a few years back.

Environmentalists say zebra mussels do damage. They can block pipes and take over the water, coating rocks with their sharp shells.

It's why the state says it's important to clean your gear and not move any water, vegetation or mud from one body of water to another.

Study done by researchers at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln:

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