Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Zebra mussels infest Lake Florida

Carolyn Lange / Tribune file photo In this 2015 file photo, Roger Sweep pulls the plug on his boat after fishing on Lake Florida. Draining water from boats is one of the basic rules to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources notified the Lake Florida Improvement Association on Thursday that zebra mussels have been confirmed in the lake.1 / 2
Carolyn Lange / Tribune file photo In this 2015 file photo, an angler pulls a boat out of Lake Florida. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources notified the Lake Florida Improvement Association on Thursday that zebra mussels have been confirmed in the lake.2 / 2

SPICER—Zebra mussels now infest a second, popular recreational lake in Kandiyohi County.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has posted a sign at the public access to Lake Florida advising that zebra mussels have been confirmed in the lake. The department notified the Lake Florida Improvement Association of the infestation Thursday. The association sent an email notifying lakeshore owners about it.

"Disappointing, frustrating, and yet not unexpected,'' said Robert Kaiser, president of the association.

Zebra mussels were confirmed in Green Lake in July 2014. Lake Calhoun, which is connected to Green Lake, was listed as infested at the same time as a result.

Lake Florida and Green Lake are among the 19 most popular lakes in the county for recreational activities ranging from boating and swimming to fishing. Lake Florida is downstream of Games, Andrew and Norway Lakes, also among the county's most popular recreational lakes.

Kaiser said the initial information he received from the Department of Natural Resources is that a crew with the department had discovered zebra mussel veligers while doing survey work in the lake. The veligers are the tiny larvae of the mussels and can be microscopic in size. They can be easily transported to other water bodies when water in bait buckets, watercraft and trailers is not emptied.

According to the DNR website on the creatures' impact, zebra mussels attach to rocks, swim rafts and ladders where swimmers can cut their feet on the mussel shells.

They also affect the lake ecosystem. They eat tiny food particles that they filter out of the water, which can reduce available food for larval fish and other animals, and cause aquatic vegetation to grow as a result of increased water clarity.

Kaiser said the feedback he has received from those learning of the infestation has been similar to his own response. Most are frustrated but not surprised, since many are aware of how zebra mussels have spread from lake to lake in nearby Douglas County.

Bob Dickerson, of Dickerson's Resort on Lake Florida, told the Tribune that he is both frustrated and concerned about the discovery.

The DNR has not issued a public notification of the infestation at this point. The lake association is hoping to learn this coming week what additional steps will be taken to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels from Lake Florida to other lakes, Kaiser said.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335
Advertisement