The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Walker Lake, connected and navigable to Otter Tail Lake in Otter Tail County. Zebra mussels were confirmed in Otter Tail Lake in August 2016.
A lake property owner contacted the DNR after finding five adult zebra mussels on an irrigation intake while removing it for the season. DNR invasive species staff found more zebra mussels on other equipment in the same area of the lake and where Walker Lake outlets into Otter Tail Lake.
“New zebra mussel populations are often discovered in the fall,” said DNR Invasive Species Unit Supervisor Heidi Wolf. “It’s important to carefully check docks, boat lifts and other equipment being removed for the season and to contact the DNR if you think you’ve found an invasive species.”
Minnesota law requires keeping docks and lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water.
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 received training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in the lake. Take a photo of any newly discovered invasive species before removing it from equipment. Save specimens or leave them in place until the DNR can investigate.
More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.