Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program

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

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 AIS 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 AIS.

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 AIS, study watercraft movements, and to educate the public on AIS prevention. Since 2014, surveys have been collected using tablets. In 2018, the NISP employed one full time technician to conduct boater surveys and inspect watercrafts at high-risk waterbodies in the Lincoln and Omaha areas. The technician also attended fishing tournaments and family fishing events to provide the public with guidance on AIS prevention. NISP built and hosted the tablet survey used by the NISP technician and the six Nebraska Game and Parks Commission technicians to interview boaters and inspect watercrafts. A total of 2,378 surveys were conducted in 2018 indicating that the majority of boaters were implementing AIS prevention methods. Ninety-eight percent of boaters reported pulling plugs and drying out watercrafts completely after its last use. During watercraft inspections, technicians found 98% of watercrafts had no risk factors to introducing AIS into a waterbody. These survey results are encouraging in preventing the spread of AIS into Nebraska waterbodies. A new infestation of zebra mussels, a small mollusk that clogs pipes, was discovered at Glenn Cunningham Lake in Omaha, NE. In conjunction with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Papio Missouri River Natural Resource District, and the City of Omaha the NISP is developing a rapid response action plan to contain the infestation. The program purchased large banners which were placed at entrances to the lake and at nearby waterbodies to alert the public of the infestation, and what steps to take to prevent the spread of zebra mussels. Nebraska now has five waterbodies infested with zebra mussels, which include Lewis & Clark Lake, Lake Yankton, the entire length of the Missouri river, Offutt Air Force Base Lake (Bellevue, NE) and Glenn Cunningham Lake (Omaha, NE). Zebra mussel larvae were sampled at Lake Zorinsky in 2016, and at Carter Lake in 2017, both waterbodies are in Omaha, NE. No larvae or adult zebra mussels were found at either waterbody since the initial positive sample so they remain suspect waterbodies. In addition, the NISP coordinator worked with the Nebraska Lake Association (which includes 39 lakes) to provide outreach materials to members and help develop guidelines their members use for preventing the spread of AIS. The NISP ran ads in the Nebraska Game and Parks boating and fishing guides to promote cleaning, draining and drying watercrafts to prevent the spread of AIS. The NISP coordinator serves on regional panels and 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
Zebra Mussel Waterbodies in Nebraska. Image: Allison Zach
Zebra Mussel Waterbodies in Nebraska. Image: Allison Zach
Principal Investigator(s)
-Craig R Allen, NE CFWRU

Project Coordinator(s)
Allison Zach (9/2013 - present), Rodney Verhoeff (4/2013 - 7/2013), Karie Decker (7/2009 - 11/2012),

Project Duration
July 2009 - December 2019

Funding
-Nebraska Game and Parks Commision
-USFWS Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce
-Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District
-Nebraska Public Power District

Project Location
Statewide Nebraska