If you’re hitting the water in boats in jet skis this summer, be careful you’re not bringing unwelcome guests home with you. Zebra mussels are in our area, and they can do lots of damage.
Adult zebra mussels are only about the size of a thumbnail, but they multiply quickly. In fact, females can lay over a million eggs in one spawning season. And here’s where they could become a major problem for OPPD and other utilities. Zebra mussels like to attach themselves to hard surfaces, and as they multiply, can clog up the water-intake equipment power plants use for electricity generation.
OPPD currently has two active plants along the Missouri River – Nebraska City Station and North Omaha Station. That’s why the district’s environmental specialists routinely patrol the river and collect water samples, looking for the tiny freshwater mollusks.
“If we find zebra mussels, we need to take action to ensure that they do no create an infestation in our power plants,” said Patrick Finigan, environmental affairs administrator for OPPD. “But treatment can be very costly.”
He said the public can help lower the risk of infestation by taking these steps:
More tips are available online from the Nebraska Invasive Species Program.
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