The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Franklin Lake in Otter Tail County. This is one of several recent confirmations across the state as lake property owners and lake service provider businesses check equipment for invasive species at the end of the season.
A lake service provider business notified the DNR of suspected zebra mussels on equipment they were removing from Franklin Lake. During a preliminary search of several dozen pieces of equipment in the area, DNR staff found and removed five adult zebra mussels from four locations. The DNR will conduct a more extensive search of Franklin Lake and consider potential treatment options early next spring.
“This new confirmation is another reminder of the importance of carefully examining all equipment when taking it out of the water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “A few simple steps now can help prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.”
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.
Contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if discovery of the invasive species has not already been confirmed in the lake.
It’s especially important to keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water. This state law is central to the training DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses receive. Anyone transporting a dock or lift from the adjacent shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit, to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
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 2 percent of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels.
More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.