Two zebra mussels found in Mille Lacs; none found in additional surveys (2005-08-15)
Two zebra mussels were found in separate locations in Lake Mille Lacs last week during a routine dive survey for net locations by fisheries biologists from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They are the first zebra mussels to be found in Mille Lacs.
Mussels were found on the northwest side of the lake. Dive surveys covering more than 20 sites over western and southern parts of the lake did not reveal more of this invasive animal.
"This is certainly not welcome news, especially given that Mille Lacs is a popular fishing destination used by anglers and boaters from all over the state," said Gary Montz, DNR zebra mussel coordinator. "It is critical that boaters take extra precautions to prevent any spread."
Game fish have not yet shown impacts from zebra mussels in the Mississippi River, Lake Superior and other Minnesota lakes where they have been discovered. However, the effects of zebra mussels are difficult to predict. Zebra mussels are known to foul beaches, clog water intakes, harm native mussels, and possibly interfere in lake food chains.
To prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species in Mille Lacs, the DNR will continue its sustained public awareness campaign, urging boaters and others to carefully remove all aquatic plants from their watercraft, trailers and equipment. For the past several years, the DNR has stationed seasonal watercraft inspectors at public boat accesses around Mille Lacs to inform boaters about invasive species issues. In addition, the DNR will continue looking for more zebra mussels during dive surveys in Mille Lacs.
Zebra mussels were discovered in Minnesota in the Duluth Superior Harbor in 1989 and have since become established in the Mississippi River, Lake Zumbro (an inland lake north of Rochester), and Lake Ossawinnamakee near Brainerd. There is a chance that the two zebra mussels may not be the first sign of an infestation. "The presence of two zebra mussels is troubling, but we need to look at more sites to make a decision on the status of the lake." Montz said. "It’s critical that boaters and other lake users take precautions to prevent any spread in the chance that there is a population in the lake."
Boaters leaving Lake Mille Lacs and other Minnesota waters should take the following precautions:
carefully remove all aquatic plants from their watercraft, trailers and equipment
drain all lake water, including live wells, bilges and bait buckets before leaving an access site
wash their boats with hot water or let their boats dry thoroughly for five days before launching them in other waters.
So yeah, seem slike a little, but as I understand it...the mussels can multiply like wildfire. Let's hope this is controlled before it gets out of hand.