Zebra Mussels Found In Leech Lake
Zebra mussels in their larval stage have been confirmed in Leech Lake by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. No adult zebra mussels have been found in the lake, but the discovery of the larvae in two locations indicate a reproducing population may be present.
30 larvae, known as veligers, were collected in a deep water sample in Portage Bay. More than 40 veligers were collected in a sample from the center of Kabekona Bay off of Leech Lake’s western edge. No other specimens were found during three other site samples, according to a press release.
The samples were collected during the DNR Fisheries’ Lake Survey program, which gathers and analyzes samples from Minnesota’s 11 largest lakes. Leech Lake is the 3rd largest.
The DNR says that it will be working with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Leech Lake Association, property owners and local governments to conduct a larger search and discuss further options.
Anyone who thinks they’ve found a zebra mussel or other invasive species that hasn’t been confirmed in the lake should keep the specimen and report it to a DNR aquatic invasive species specialist. The best way to contact a specialist can be found here.
The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:
- Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
- Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
The department also reminds dock and boat lift owners to keep these out of the water for at least 21 days before transferring them to another body of water. Anyone transporting a dock or lift may need a permit to do so.
According to the press release, Zebra mussels are an invasive (non-native) 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. Less than two percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels.
More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.