Zebra mussel look-out
SPICER — After the scare this summer that a single adult zebra mussel had been found in Green Lake, which earned the popular recreational and fishing lake the “infested” label, there have been no additional reports of the aquatic invasive species there.
But county and state officials are asking homeowners and professional lakeside services to keep an eye out for zebra mussels when docks, boat lifts and watercraft are brought out of the water this fall.
“Obviously, we’re hoping we don’t find any more, but we’re staying alert and keep everyone on the same page,” said Nick Brown, an aquatic invasive species specialist with the state Department of Natural ResourcesZebra mussels commonly cling to metal pipes, wheels and angle irons found on docks and boat lifts, Brown said.Giving the equipment that has been submerged in the lake a “quick once-over” will help determine if the zebra mussel population has spread, he said.“When they come out of the water, that’s when it’s easiest to find them,” Brown said.That information will be useful: If there are no other zebra mussels found in Green Lake in the next five years, the lake will be removed from the infested list.In a news release issued jointly by Kandiyohi County and the DNR, homeowners and commercial services are advised to look carefully for the tiny zebra mussels, which could be sparse and hard to see.If something is found that looks like a zebra mussel, faucet snail or other aquatic invasive species, the DNR said they should be left in place and photographed and the DNR should be notified of the exact location where the suspect creature was found.Kandiyohi County residents should contact Brown at 320-234-2550, extension 238.If the specimen must be removed, it should be put in a Ziploc bag with alcohol for preservation, which will enable it to be properly inspected by the DNR.“This early detection of zebra mussels and other (aquatic invasive species) is crucial in protecting your property, as well as other Minnesota lakes,” according to the news release.Although the zebra mussel discovered earlier this summer was in Green Lake, Brown said all area lakes are at risk and equipment should be inspected elsewhere this fall.It’s legally permissible to remove equipment from infested waters and place it on the adjacent shoreline property.“If you’re just moving to the backyard, really nothing needs to be done by law,” said Brown.But if that equipment is being transported to another location for storage or repair, an “authorization form to transport equipment” must be completed.That form can be found on the DNR website.It is illegal to transport any watercraft with an aquatic invasive species attached away from a water access or other shoreland property, even if you intend to put it in storage for the winter, without first completing the authorization form.Businesses that professionally remove lake equipment must have aquatic invasive species training. The DNR has a list of permitted lake service providers, which is also found on the website.