Summer fun is getting underway, and Nebraska Public Power District reminds lake boat owners of the importance of preventing the spread of invasive species.

“It’s important for boaters to make sure they empty the water out of their boat whenever they are moving from one water source to another,” says NPPD Canaday, Water, and Renewable Energy Manager Kirk Evert. “When boats aren’t drained properly, invasive species that might be in one lake or pond can then be carried in a boat and spread to other lakes.

Lake Maloney, the Sutherland Reservoir, and a portion of Lake Ogallala are part of the Sutherland canal system, which provides cooling water for Gerald Gentleman Station and powers the North Platte Hydro.

“Invasive species spread at a rapid pace, and if they were to get into an NPPD waterway, they could damage or cause issues at the electric generating plants that utilize water from those resources,” Evert said.

The canal system, which is owned and operated by NPPD, is fed from water out of Lake McConaughy and eventually flows to the South Platte River.

When invasive species, such as zebra mussels, get into a waterway, they stick to every available surface and multiply quickly, many times clogging intake structures and facilities.

Safety should also be front-of-mind when using NPPD’s water resources for recreational purposes, and the public should follow all regulations established and enforced by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, NPPD said.

Fishing along the Sutherland Canal is a popular activity, but steep banks and fast-moving waters can be extremely dangerous if anyone were to fall in the canal.

As a safety precaution when fishing these areas, it is encouraged to bring another person along or let a family or friend know when and where you will be, and always wear a life jacket when near the water.

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