Boat lifts focus of 2 new zebra mussel reports

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Sybil Lake in Otter Tail County and Maud Lake in adjacent Becker County in northwest Minnesota. In both cases, the zebra mussels were found on boat lifts when they were removed from the water.

According to the DNR, both incidents serve as good reminders for citizens to check equipment as they remove it each season.

DNR invasive species staff confirmed live zebra mussels on a boat lift removed from Sybil Lake. The DNR appreciates the assistance of the property owner who made the initial report and the lake service provider business that removed the boat lift from the lake in late September. DNR invasive species staff did not find any other zebra mussels in the lake or on other nearby equipment. They will conduct more extensive follow-up searches.

A vigilant lake service provider business reported finding two zebra mussels attached to a boat lift they were removing from Maud Lake. In a follow-up search, DNR invasive species staff found and removed one additional zebra mussel about a half-mile from the area where the boat lift was removed.

“Minnesota law requires docks and boat lifts to be out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them in another body of water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “This requirement is one of the most important tools for preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. Lake service provider businesses receive specific training about this law, but it’s essential for everyone to follow it, even when the lake a dock or lift comes out of is not listed as infested.”

Zebra mussels are an invasive (nonnative) 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. Along with the 21-day dry law before putting a dock or lift into another body of water, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

Clean their 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.
Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

Spray with high-pressure water.
Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees F for at least two minutes or 140 degrees F for at least 10 seconds).
Dry for at least five days.

More information is available at