What You Can Do to Stop Aquatic Invasive Species

You might have noticed some new additions to some lakes in central Minnesota.

Signs, warning you of a zebra mussel invasion.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported five invested lakes on Wednesday:

  • West Battle Lake
  • Otter Tail Lake in Otter Tail County
  • Lake Florida in Kandiyohi County
  • Pocket Lake in Douglas County
  • A network of abandoned mine pits in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crow Wing County

“While any new infestation is serious, it’s important to note that more than 98 percent of Minnesota lakes are not listed as infested with zebra mussels,” said Ann Pierce, section manager for the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division, in a press release.

Invasive species staff with the DNR found zebra mussels near an area where a citizen reported seeing them earlier, the DNR said. At Otter Tail Lake, it was a swimmer who found the mussels.

The DNR plans to monitor areas downstream from these invested lakes, including Glendalough State Park.

You can learn more about zebra mussels here.

“They (DNR) continue to conduct dock and lift searches, and ask the public to check their equipment and contact the DNR to report anything suspicious,” DNR said. The DNR plans to monitor areas downstream from these invested lakes, including Glendalough State Park.

What you can (must) do to help prevent invasive species, according to the DNR:

  • “Clean [your] 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.”

Take the same procedure if you see starry stonewort, another invasive species which was found in Turtle Lake.

This is the second reported infestation. The first, a person reported “heavy growth of underwater vegetation” last August, the DNR said.

The first glance didn’t tell much. It looked like chara, a native aquatic plant.

It’s because the plant wasn’t showing bulbils. When the individual revisited the area, the bulbils had developed — a dead giveaway.

This time around, the aquatic invader takes up roughly an acre of Turtle Lake near the shoreline.

“We strongly encourage anyone who is uncertain of the identity of a species and suspects it may be starry stonewort or any other aquatic invasive species to contact the DNR so we can check it out,” Pierce said in a statement.

The DNR plans to find ways to get rid of the plant, while also making more inspections.

“It is important for all Minnesota boaters and anglers to take responsibility at all times and ‘Clean, Drain and Dispose’ as required by law in Minnesota,” she said.

“It’s important that everyone using these lakes, or any lake, join this effort and follow this procedure and protect our waters.”