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City may drain or chemically treat Lake Cunningham

Posted at 4:03 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 17:03:04-04

A barrier is now blocking the boat ramp at Lake Cunningham after a zebra mussel infestation but the question remains, what's next.

Besides the boat ramp, Lake Cunningham Park remains open as the Parks Department decides on two ways to treat the lake. One option is draining the lake.

"You let mother nature basically freeze out all the mussels and then close the gates and let it fill back up next spring,"  says Brook Bench, Omaha Parks Director. 

Or they could chemically treat the lake. 

"Basically you're going to kill everything that's in there, so starting from scratch," says Bench. 

The parks department has been posting signs at every lake in Omaha, with hopes the mussels stay isolated to the few already confirmed bodies of water. 

"We're fortunate enough that if we do draw down Lake Cunningham that lake can be drawn down but there's many lakes in Nebraska and around here that can't. So once you get them, you're just going to have them and have to deal with them," says Bench. 

Parks Director Brook Bench says he's not eyeing any other lake in town as the next stop for the invasive species, but it just takes one person to change that.

"I don't have that crystal ball but it could, if you look up farther north and states up north, they have a lot more lakes but they definitely have issues," says Bench. 

If they were to chemically treat the lake, it is an expensive process so they would also likely drain the lake a bit so they have less water to treat.