Zebra mussels confirmed in Pickerel Lake in Becker County

(Released July 3, 2014)

Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Pickerel Lake located 7 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes in Becker County in west-central Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

A citizen found the zebra mussel on Saturday, June 28, while scuba diving on the west side of the lake by the public water access. The zebra mussel was found attached to a rock in 13 feet of water. With the help of other scuba divers, searches continued Saturday and Sunday, but no additional zebra mussels were found.

“This newest report emphasizes the need for everyone to be on the lookout for zebra mussels when out recreating in our state waters,” said Barry Stratton, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, southern district manager.

Lake Pickerel is land-locked and will be designated as infested.

This is the second confirmed discovery of zebra mussels in Becker County. Zebra mussels were recently confirmed in Lake Melissa, southwest of Detroit Lakes.

Zebra mussels are non-native species that can crowd out native mussels and compete for food sources with other aquatic animals such as larval fish. They attach to boat hulls and their shells may wash up onto beaches in large numbers.

Preventing the spread of invasive species takes personal responsibility. Before leaving a water access or shoreland, boaters must remove all aquatic vegetation and zebra mussels or other prohibited invasive species, dispose of bait, drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.

More information about zebra mussels, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters is available on the DNR website.