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COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s largest public power utility is urging those who use its water systems to clean, drain and dry their boats to prevent the spread of invasive zebra mussels.

Nebraska Public Power District’s water system is located in the western part of the state, which includes Sutherland Reservoir and Lake Maloney. Those are also popular locations for recreational boats, which can transport zebra mussels from one body of water to another if not cleaned and dried properly.

The small black-and-white striped mussels, native to eastern Europe, are voracious eaters, gobbling up plankton that many native freshwater fish need to survive.

The mussels can also attach themselves to dam and utility mechanisms, causing damage to motors and facilities.

Tips for preventing the spread of zebra mussels can be found at www.neinvasives.com .