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Environmental Assessment: Zebra Mussel Eradication from the Base Lake at Offutt Air Force Base

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Final rept.

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In early 2006, zebra mussel shells were observed on the shoreline of the Base Lake and closer examination of rocks and other hard surfaces in shallow water of the Lake documented the presence of live zebra mussels. This is the only verified population of zebra mussels in Nebraska. They are believed to have entered the Base Lake in 2005 or earlier via a boat or boat trailer that came from infested waters. In 2007, the abundance of mussels in the Lake increased dramatically. Most hard surfaces in the Lake are now covered with multiple layers of zebra mussels that in many areas are 2 to 3 inches thick. Based on the presence of the zebra mussel in the Base Lake, a working group was formed that included Offutt AFB, federal and state regulatory and resource agencies, local electrical power companies, city municipal utility districts, and natural resource districts to discuss steps that could and should be taken to prevent the introduction of zebra mussels to other water bodies in Nebraska and surrounding states. The Base Lake zebra mussel working group, in response to their concern regarding the spread of the mussel to the Missouri River and other bodies of water, identified temporary and long-term actions that if implemented would reduce the potential for spread of the mussel. Short-term actions included restricting boat access to the Base Lake and temporarily sealing the outlet to prevent infested water from being discharged from the Lake. These two actions were implemented by Offutt AFB in 2007. The long-term action being considered in this EA is the total eradication of the zebra mussel from the Base Lake. The purpose of this EA is to explore this action and alternatives and identify the potential environmental impacts associated with implementation of the long-term action. Offutt AFB agrees that the proposed action would be an effective means to control the spread of zebra mussels from the Base Lake.

Subject Categories:

  • Ecology
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Water Pollution and Control

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