A lone zebra mussel, the invasive species that can decimate marine life in Minnesota's waters, has been found in a prominent Minneapolis lake.
The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board confirmed that a single zebra mussel was found in Lake Harriet on Sept. 8, on a boat cover that had been recovered from the bottom of the lake.
An extensive 67-hour search of the lake – including snorkel, scuba and shoreline surveys – turned up no more mussels. This means that provided the lake is clear during future surveys, it'll be removed from the Infested Waters List.
It won't impact public use of the lake, the MPRB said, but all boats or watercraft entering or exiting the lake, as well as nearby Lake Bde Maka Ska/Calhoun and Lake Nokomis will be subject to inspection through Dec. 1, or until they ice over.
Zebra mussels have been found in another metro area lake recently, with five mussels found in Lake Marion in Lakeville.
The mussels were found at the public access landing by a lake consulting business that the Star Tribune reports the city hired as part of its early detection program.
Despite the findings in Minneapolis and Lakeville, the MPRB notes that fewer than 250, or 1.8 percent, of Minnesota's 11,842 lakes are listed as being infested with zebra mussels.
What do zebra mussels do?
As well as clogging up pipes, cutting the feet of swimmers and reducing the performance of boats by clinging to hulls, zebra mussels eat tiny food particles they filter out of the water, according to the Minnesota DNR.
This in turn can reduce food for larval fish and other animals, and cause aquatic vegetation to grow.
They can be transported from lake to lake via boats, which is why Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers on all lakes to:
- Clean watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species,
- Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport, and
- Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.