The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Bay Lake, near Deerwood in Crow Wing County.
Last fall, a lakeshore owner reported finding the shell of a dead zebra mussel, but additional searches with DNR zebra mussel detection dogs could not confirm the presence of live specimens. Recently, a guest of another lakeshore owner reported finding a live specimen that a DNR invasive species specialist confirmed to be an adult zebra mussel. Additional water sampling showed the presence of veligers and in-lake searches confirmed a reproducing population of zebra mussels in Bay Lake.
“Most of the new zebra mussel reports are brought to our attention by people who are out using Minnesota’s public waters in the summer months,” said DNR invasive species specialist Tim Plude. “We appreciate the vigilance of folks reporting them to the DNR, as well as the partnerships we have with lakeshore owners.”
Signs at lake accesses have been updated to alert boaters to the presence of zebra mussels.
Zebra mussels are transported over land by human activity, and lake users can prevent their spread. It’s an important reminder to follow the state’s invasive species laws:
• Clean watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species,
• Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport, and
• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
The DNR also recommends boaters take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody:
• Spray with high-pressure water.
• Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
• Dry for leave least five days.
When transporting water-related equipment such as boat lifts, docks, swim rafts or associated equipment, Minnesota law requires a 21-day drying time to destroy attached organisms, before placing that equipment in another lake.
Zebra mussels are an invasive species that 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.
People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species.
More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.