Don't Move a Mussel! Clean, drain and dry your watercraft!

Zebra mussels have been found on moss balls or in their containers in 41 states, including Nebraska, and also found in 9 provinces & territories in Canada.  

moss ballsmall zebra musselPhotos by: Idaho State Department of Agriculture 

Learn more about how to dispose of moss balls: US Fish & Widlife Service Updates, Protocols for decontamination of aquariums, Nebraska Game and Parks Press Release


Aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil can be spread between water bodies on boating and fishing equipment that has not been cleaned, drained and dried. Help to prevent the transport of nuisance species by following the guidelines below – clean, drain and dry: 

  • Access watercraft inspection guidance and activity log HERE  
  • Watercraft decontamination procedures HERE 
  • Guidance for Private Lakes can be found HERE 
  • Aquatic invasive species prevention measures HERE & HERE



Prevention Steps

Removing plants from a boat Checkmark Icon


After boating, before you leave the launch:

Remove all visible plants, animals, fish, and mud from your boat, trailer, or other equipment and dispose of in a suitable trash container or on dry land. Don’t transport any potential hitchhiker, even back to your home. Remove and leave them at the site you visited.

Draining a boat Checkmark Icon


After boating, before you leave the launch:

Drain water from bilge, live wells, ballast tanks, and any other locations with water before leaving the launch. Invasive viruses, zooplankton, and juvenile zebra mussels and Asian clams can be transported in even just a drop of water!

Cleaning a boat Checkmark Icon


Before you arrive at the launch to go boating:

Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely. Drying times vary depending on the weather and the type of material. At least five days drying time is recommended.

  • Use one of our Free Clean, Drain, Dry (CD3) Watercraft Cleaning Units: Branched Oak Lake (near Lincoln, NE) or Weigand Marina (Lewis & Clark Lake)Learn how to use the units Here. 
  • See CD3 Usage data for those 2 units here
  • Thank you to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Public Power District for funding these units.  Also thank you to the Nebraka Game and Parks Commission for installing and maintaining these units.boat washing station

What Spots to Check

Diagram of places on your boat to check for zebra mussels
Diagram of places in your hunting equipment to check for zebra mussels

Current Zebra & Quagga Mussel Distribution Maps

Nebraska has 3 waterbodies infested with zebra mussels.  The Missouri River, the entire length of the river in Nebraska (2016), Lewis and Clark Lake near Yankton, SD (2015), and Offutt Air Force Base Lake in Bellevue, NE (2014). A small infestation was found in Glenn Cunningham Lake in Omaha, NE (2018), the waterbody was drawn down in winter 2018 to freeze and kill the zebra mussel infestation.  Once the waterbody opens in 2021 it will be sampled frequently for zebra mussel.  Learn more about zebra mussels HERE.  

Carter Lake (Omaha, NE) is Nebraska's only suspect waterbody, which means only a single water sample has been found to contain zebra mussel larvae and adults have not been found. A single water sample collected in 2017 tested positive and the waterbody can be delisted in 2020 if no zebra mussel laravae or adults are detected. Lake Zorinsky was delisted in 2019 after 3 years of negative sampling for zebra mussels, the eradication effort conducted in 2010/2011 is considered to have been successful.  

Quagga mussels have not been found in Nebraska to date.  View Current National Range Map.

map of zebra mussel range in Nebraska

map of zebra and quagga mussels in the united states

map of zebra mussel waterbodies in Kansas, April 2021