Zebra Mussels Found in Clinton Reservoir

Invasive, sharp-shelled mollusk discovered in several locations around lake

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Clinton Reservoir in Douglas County. An adult population was discovered by KDWPT fisheries staff during routine fish sampling activities, and a subsequent survey of other locations around the lake indicated the population was widespread. Twenty-two Kansas lakes have now been confirmed to have zebra mussels. Other reservoirs in northeast Kansas with zebra mussel infestations include Milford, Perry, John Redmond and Melvern.  

            Clinton Reservoir covers approximately 7,000 acres west of Lawrence. It is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and KDWPT manages the fishery. The lake and surrounding areas are popular destinations for fishing, camping, swimming, hiking, and a variety of boating and other water-related activities.          

            USACE and KDWPT officials stress that there is no known method to rid a lake of zebra mussels, noting that the public plays a key role in stemming their spread to uninfested lakes. “These latest discoveries show how important it is for the public to be aware of the dangers of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) and to take precautions to prevent their spread,” said Jessica Howell, KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator.

According to Howell, prevention is the best way to avoid spreading ANS. “By always cleaning, draining, and drying boats and other equipment and by not moving water around, we can stop the spread of not just zebra mussels, but most aquatic nuisance species that may be present,” she said. 

The lake will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the reservoir. The sharp-shelled zebra mussels attach to solid objects, so visitors should be careful when handling mussel-encrusted objects and when grabbing an underwater object when they can’t see what their hands may be grasping. Visitors should protect their feet when walking on underwater or shoreline rocks, a helpful precaution any time they are outdoors.           

Zebra mussels are just one of the non-native aquatic species that threaten our waters and native wildlife. After using any body of water, boaters and anglers must remember to follow regulations and precautions that will prevent their spread:

·         Clean, drain and dry boats and equipment between uses

·         Use wild-caught bait only in the lake or pool where it was caught

·         Do not move live fish from waters infested with zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species

·         Drain livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansaswater on a public highway.

For more information about aquatic nuisance species in Kansas, report a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit