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DNR investigating report of zebra mussel on Green Lake

Docks in the water are shown Tuesday along the shore of Green Lake in Spicer. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is investigating a report of an adult zebra mussel on a dock in Green Lake. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

SPICER — A report than an adult zebra mussel was found on a dock post on the southeast side of Green Lake is being investigated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The “rapid response” investigation Tuesday included an extensive search of private docks and public boat landings.

“This is standard protocol with every report we get. We investigate it,” said Ann Pierce, DNR section manager for the Division of Ecological and Water Resources.

Pierce said late Tuesday afternoon that a report had not yet been filed by DNR officer Nick Brown, who is the aquatic invasive species specialist conducting the investigation on Green Lake.

Until that report is completed, Pierce said she could not comment on whether the zebra mussel was verified or not.

According to Terry Frazee, the longtime executive secretary of the Green Lake Property Owners Association board and a member of Kandiyohi County’s new Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force, the search was in response to a resident who brought what is believed to be a single zebra mussel to the local DNR office.

The suspected zebra mussel, which Frazee saw and said was about the size of a dime and an estimated two years old, was reportedly found on a post on the man’s dock Monday afternoon.

Frazee said five people spent six hours on Tuesday going “dock to dock” and searching boat landings Tuesday on Green Lake and did not find another specimen.

Pierce confirmed that DNR officers conducted a search, which she said is part of the protocol in the rapid response to make sure all information is gathered to prepare a complete report.

“Show me what you found. Show me where you found it. All those pieces would be part of the response,” said Pierce, explaining how an investigation is conducted.

She said additional investigation may be required before the report is filed and before the DNR issues a public statement on what was found — if anything.

Pierce said in past cases, if one zebra mussel is found in a lake, there are more present. She said it would be “unique” if there is only a single zebra mussel found.

Frazee said lake residents, Kandiyohi County and the city of Spicer have worked hard to keep zebra mussels out of the 5,400-acre lake.

Education and enforcement have been increased in recent years and a free boat washing station is in operation near the lake as a preventative measure.

As a result of new legislation, the county will receive about $385,000 in the next year and a half to fund projects to prevent and combat the spread of aquatic invasive species, which include zebra mussels.

Frazee said it would be “disappointing” if the report of the zebra mussel was verified.

“All it takes is one person,” said Frazee. “The zebra mussel is an animal that’s transported by human beings and by boats.”

Frazee was relieved that at the end of Tuesday’s search, there had been no other suspected zebra mussels found.

Pierce said at this point, there is not enough information to act on or to give advice to Green Lake homeowners. She said the DNR may ask people to keep looking for suspected aquatic invasive species, pending the results of Brown’s report.

Pierce said it’s vital that everyone who uses the lake follows the laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, which include removing vegetation from boats and trailers, draining water from bilges and live wells and disposing of unused bait.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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