Zebra mussels reported in Lake Stella in Meeker County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Lake Stella in Meeker County.

On July 6, a suspected zebra mussel was brought into the Hutchinson DNR office for positive identification. The property owner said he found the zebra mussel attached to a native mussel in about three feet of water in Lake Stella. The specimen was confirmed as an adult zebra mussel by Nicholas Brown, a DNR invasive species specialist. A second zebra mussel was later reported by a property owner in a different part of the lake. Brown confirmed that one too.

Lake Stella will be designated as an infested lake. Lake Washington, immediately downstream from Lake Stella, will also be designated, although no zebra mussels have been found there.

Preventing the spread of invasive species requires personal responsibility. Before leaving a lake, aquatic invasive species laws require boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

“We want to stress that lake users need to be diligent in following the laws, including inspecting, cleaning, and draining boats and disposing of unwanted bait in the trash,” Brown said. “Following these steps will help prevent the spread of all invasive species.”

When removing boats, docks, lifts, or other water-related equipment from lakes and rivers, carefully inspect everything to make sure there are no invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil or New Zealand mudsnails attached. Examine posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as boats, pontoons and rafts that have been in water for an extended period. Docks and related equipment must be allowed to dry for 21 days before moving them into another body of water.

For more information on AIS prevention and how to report a suspected infestation, visit the Web page.