Lake Bemidji To See Gradual Changes Following Zebra Mussel Infestation
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels have been found in Lake Bemidji. Experts say we won’t see an immediate change in the lake, but overtime, the ecology of the water will change.
There are many theories as to how the lake became infected, but experts say there is no way to know for sure. It’s believed they could’ve been transferred from Cass Lake, due to its close proximity to lake Bemidji. The DNR only confirmed the zebra mussels last week, but there’s a chance they could’ve been in the lake much longer.
Bruce Anspach, the Beltrami County Aquatic Invasive Species Lake Technician, says, “We don’t know for sure how it became infested, and from the size and quantity of the zebra mussels that we saw on Friday and the ones that I’ve seen recently on Lake Bemidji, my personal guess is that it’s probably been infested for about three years.”
Over the span of three to five years, the water in Lake Bemidji will become clearer and vegetation will grow deeper into the lake. Eventually, the shores will also be covered in zebra mussels, so people will have to wear shoes while walking. Immediate effects include new laws regarding the lake.
Anspach says, “Since the water is designated as infested, now some other laws change for bait harvesting, gathering water from Lake Bemidji now. You need a permit for it because it is an infested water body, so that kind of stuff changes, but for the day-use boater and – it doesn’t really change much, just people need to be aware of it and make sure they do the right thing.”
The DNR says it is extremely important now to make sure you are not transporting water by cleaning, draining, and drying all equipment and boats. Other affected lakes include Marquette Lake, Carr Lake, Lake Irving and Stump Lake.