A lake in Winfield is the second in Kansas with zebra mussels. The zebra mussel was introduced into the Great Lakes by bilge water from a European vessel. Since then, they have spread on birds and boats from lake to lake.
Upon arrival, they spread and outcompete local mollusks, filtering out food for native fish as well.
That isn’t the only threat to Kansas lakes. Most of them were created by the Army Corps of Engineers, and have begun shrinking due to sediment, coupled with dry weather. In the other lake, which was infested in 2003, “The lake’s down 5 ½ feet, and you can see millions of zebra mussels on the exposed rocks,” according to Kansas Wildlife and Parks specialist Jason Goeckler. There is no way to extirpate the zebra mussels once established. The only option is to carefully control water flow out of the lake, and to clean boats after they’ve been in infested waters.
Meanwhile on land, the eastern red cedar, a species of juniper, is invading rangeland. Traditionally, cedar growth was limited by regular fires, but modern ranching has made it easier for them to get established. They suck up water in volume, and ranchers who cut cedars can find that springs start flowing again shortly afterward.
Federal grants exist to help farmers and ranchers remove red cedar. Landowners can prevent invasion by regular controlled burns. Mowing or grazing alone would not be sufficient.