Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program

The Nebraska Invasive Species Program (NISP) continues to administer a multi-institutional Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program funded with grant funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Goals

1. Decrease the risk of aquatic invasive species introduction into Nebraska by implementing a boat inspection and decontamination program;
2. Increase public awareness of aquatic invasive species through an integrated outreach/education program;
3. Continue aquatic invasive species monitoring to help focus prevention efforts; and
4. Increase local and regional collaboration in the prevention of aquatic invasive species.

Current Status

The NISP has conducted boater surveys and boat inspections each summer since 2012 at high-risk waterbodies throughout Nebraska to gauge public awareness of aquatic invasive species (AIS), study watercraft movements, and to educate the public on AIS prevention. Since 2014, surveys have been collected using tablets. In 2017 the NISP employed two full time technicians to conduct boater surveys and inspect watercrafts at high risk waterbodies in the Lincoln and Omaha areas. The technicians also attended fishing tournaments and family fishing events to provide the public with guidance on AIS prevention. NISP coordinated with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as they also had technicians conducting boater surveys and watercraft inspections throughout the state. In 2016 adult zebra mussels, a small mollusk that clogs pipes, were found at public boat launches along the Missouri river for the first time (see Figure). Signage and outreach were increased to alert Missouri river boaters they could be a vector to move zebra mussels to nearby waterbodies if they don’t take preventative measures. Zebra mussels are now established in the entire length of the Missouri river on the Nebraska side. Also Offutt Air Force Base Lake in Bellevue, NE has an established population. Lake Zorinsky in Omaha, NE had zebra mussel larvae (veligers) found in 2016. The NISP coordinator worked with the Nebraska Lake Association (which includes 39 lakes) to provide outreach materials to members and helped develop guidelines their members use for preventing the spread of AIS. In addition, the NISP coordinator provided contacts to irrigators and municipalities that pull water out of the Missouri river, so they can implement systems to prevent zebra mussels from clogging their facilities. The NISP ran ads in the Nebraska boating and fishing guides to promote cleaning, draining and drying watercrafts to prevent the spread of AIS. The NISP coordinator also works with AIS coordinators in other states to coordinate AIS prevention efforts.

Project Website
AIS Prevention Program
Technician conducting AIS Outreach. Photo: Allison Zach
Technician conducting AIS Outreach. Photo: Allison Zach
Dots represet locations where zebra mussels have been found in Nebraska. Photo: Allison Zach
Dots represet locations where zebra mussels have been found in Nebraska. Photo: Allison Zach
Principal Investigator(s)
-Craig R Allen, NE CFWRU
Project Coordinator(s)
Karie Decker (7/2009 - 11/2012), Rodney Verhoeff (4/2013 - 7/2013) Allison Zach (9/2013 - present)
Project Duration
April 2011 - June 2017
Funding
-Nebraska Environmental Trust
-USFWS Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce
-Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District
Project Location
Statewide Nebraska