DNR warns boaters about zebra mussels - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

DNR warns boaters about zebra mussels

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Many people take their boats out when the weather is warm, but an invasive species, known as zebra mussels, can threaten the quality of the water.

The DNR is warning boaters about this issue.

When boaters get to the Emerson Bay boat ramp on West Okoboji Lake, they are talked to by the DNR and given a sticker after they find out about the dangers zebra mussels cause to the ecosystem. But, not all boaters are too concerned.

"I'm not concerned about it for my boat. This boat only goes in and out of West Lake Okoboji," Sioux City resident Bob Lund said.

While the DNR has only found evidence of zebra mussels in East Okoboji Lake, these invasive species attach to boats and can easily be transferred to another lake by a boat that's been in infested waters and is not properly drained. While in the water, they kill native mussels and harm the food chain.

"I think anybody that has a deep relationship with the Great Lakes and any lakes are very interested in the zebra mussels and trying to make sure they do not inhabit West Lake," Lund said.

A new law that went into effect July 1 requires boaters to drain all water from boats and equipment before pulling away from the lake. Along with that, boaters must keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport. DNR officials said this will help prevent the spread of zebra mussels. While locals say this won't be an issue for them, they're worried about tourists.

"With this being a resort area, there are a lot of boats in and out of the area, and I think that's the importance of the DNR being here," Lund said.

"For us, it's not a huge concern, but for other people, it's something they should really do," Okoboji resident Ryan Voss said.

The DNR said once zebra mussels are in the lake, there is no way to get rid of them.

Another prevention method for zebra mussels is to clean any plants, animals or mud from your boat and equipment before you leave the lake.

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