BEATRICE, NEB. - Talk with anyone at Nebraska Game and Parks and they’ll tell you one of their main goals is to keep Nebraska habitats healthy.

That includes the various bodies of water throughout the Cornhusker state. This summer, they’re asking boaters to take care of their motors to prevent the spread of invasive species.

“The Zebra Mussel larvae are microscopic… When they’re present, they can be in the water and you don’t have any idea they’re there.”

Daryl Bauer of Game and Parks’ fisheries division met with NCN at Stagecoach State Recreation Area in southern Lancaster County, which includes a near 200-acre lake, frequented by anglers and boaters from across southeast Nebraska and the Lincoln metro.

For invasive, Zebra Mussels are the main concern. They originated from Russia and Ukraine, but have been accidentally introduced to numerous other areas around the world. To prevent them, Bauer says to clean, drain and dry out motors to prevent spread.

“The recommendation on clean, drain, and dry is to drop that motor so you get the lower unit down and all the water drains out,” Bauer said. “Then inspect, take all the vegetation off the trailer, any fragments of mud, clean that off.”

Luckily, Nebraska has been spared the worst of Zebra Mussel outbreaks, but isolated spots are positive.

“Missouri River is positive, Beaver Lake, a private lake in the eastern part of the state is positive as of last year… And the lake at Offutt Air Force Base is positive.”

While the direct impact of invasive species like Zebra Mussels is mostly unknown, it’s almost certain they’ll have some sort of an impact on the natives species inhabiting the area.

“Because they carp at the bottom, that changes spawning habitat for fish species, and then filtering the water like they do, they take some of that plankton out of the water that the whole aquatic food chain depends on.”