Zebra mussels confirmed in Hennepin County’s Christmas Lake

(Released August 20, 2014)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that zebra mussels were found in Christmas Lake in Shorewood, just south of Lake Minnetonka. 

photo 3 (2)On Saturday, Aug. 16, staff with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) found four zebra mussels attached to the district’s zebra mussel sampler. The sampler was suspended in the water below the public access dock as part of the district’s early detection monitoring program. MCWD staff found additional zebra mussels under water on rocks and along the shoreline at the public access launch site. DNR staff visited the site and confirmed the presence of zebra mussels.

MCWD and DNR staff examined the lake further and only found zebra mussels in the area around the public water access. Because this infestation appears to have been detected early, MCWD is working with the DNR and the city of Shorewood on a rapid response plan which may help to prevent a lake-wide infestation.

“This infestation demonstrates the need for early detection and monitoring of our lakes and rivers,” said Keegan Lund, DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division invasive species specialist. “Local partners, such as the MCWD, play a key role in detecting and responding to new AIS infestations.”

Zebra mussels are nonnative species that can crowd out native mussels and compete with other aquatic animals for food. They attach to boat hulls and other water-related equipment and their sharp shells can create a hazard for swimmers.

Preventing the spread of invasive species takes personal responsibility. Before leaving any water access or shoreland, boaters must remove all aquatic vegetation, dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft. Failure to comply with aquatic invasive species laws can result in fines.

The DNR will designate Christmas Lake as infested and update the invasive species signage at the public access. 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.