Zebra mussels confirmed in Grant County’s Elk Lake

Numerous juvenile zebra mussels near public beach

The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Elk Lake, in west-central Minnesota’s Grant County. 

Maintenance staff with the city of Hoffman contacted the DNR when they found suspected zebra mussels on cement blocks anchoring buoys near a public beach. DNR staff confirmed juvenile zebra mussels scattered about a quarter mile from the initial report location.

Water from Elk Lake flows north toward Spring Lake, but the outlet is currently dry. As a connected water, Spring Lake and other connected lakes may also be added to the infested waters list.

Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

People should contact area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species that has not already been confirmed in a lake.

More information is available on the aquatic invasive species page.