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Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Biologist keeps waterways clear of zebra mussels

June 18, 2003

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— Kansas waterways are clear of zebra mussels, and Lynn Davignon wants them to stay that way.

Davignon, a fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, has been inspecting each boat coming into the reservoir for the BASS Federation Central Division championship tournament this week.

He's on the lookout for zebra mussels, which are considered the bane of domestic waters. So far he hasn't found any.

"They're a pain," he said. "That's why we're trying to keep them out of Kansas."

Zebra mussels are prolific, he said, noting that a single female could produce a million offspring in a season. The black-and-white clams filter water and skim off the microscopic foods tiny gamefish need to survive.

That filtering action actually "cleans up your water," Davignon said.

In addition to the problems the mussels cause for small game fish, such as bass, the mussels latch on to virtually anything and will plug pipelines.

That is where they have caused the most damage in eastern states where there are hydroelectric generating facilities.

"There's no biological control," Davignon said of the mussels.

Davignon is responsible for Cedar Bluff Reservoir, where the tournament is set to begin Wednesday. Anglers from eight states have been on the water since Sunday in preparation of the tournament, the largest of its kind in the state.

Davignon predicted Kansas would start doing more checking because of the threat the mussels pose. Plus, he said, the chance to check boats at big tournaments offered the chance of education.

"We're happy we can increase education about exotic, aquatic organisms," he said.

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