The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun draining Lake Cunningham as part of an effort to control zebra mussels and common carp that have negatively impacted the lake’s ecosystem and to attempt to prevent from spreading to other lakes.
The Corp says drawing down a lake during cold seasons has proven to be an effective method of reducing zebra mussel populations, drying and freezing them through the prolonged exposure to low temperatures.
The lake is expected to refill next year as normal spring rains and runoff are captured behind the dam. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission plans to restock the lake with sport fish and will continue to monitor the lake’s progress.
In the interest of public safety, the City of Omaha will be closing many park entrances until the lake refills. Entrances 2, 3, 8 and the archery range will remain open to provide access to trails and other land-based activities.
The City is urging the public to follow all signage, which highlight the parts of the park are open or closed. Zebra mussels can significantly impact a lake’s ecosystem, fishery, and recreational potential.