On Friday the Department of Natural Resources confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in both Lake Waconia in Carver County and White Bear Lake in Ramsey and Washington Counties. Biologists say the invasive clam species could be reproducing, based on the size and location of the six specimens found.
WCCO reports a high school science teacher discovered the mussels while snorkeling in White Bear Lake. In Lake Waconia, an angler found the pests attached to aquatic plants on his trailer, and a boater reported the mussels on his vessel in a private marina as well.
The announcement adds to a long list of areas infested with the non-native species in what scientists say is a spreading infestation, according to MPR News. The DNR confirmed zebra mussel discoveries in the Detroit Lakes area this summer and Cass Lake near Bemidji, one of the largest lakes in the state, earlier this month.
To see where the zebra mussels are popping up in Minnesota, check out MPR's interactive map of all aquatic invasive species across the state.
While the spread of the invasive species may be discouraging, not all of the recent zebra mussel news is bad. The week scientists announced promising results from Christmas Lake where a new treatment targeting zebra mussels was tested. An experimental, bacteria-based pesticide called Zequanox eliminated all zebra mussels within a confined testing area in the Hennepin County lake.
Unfortunately, a chemical treatment like Zequanox would likely be ineffective in cases where the mussels are reproducing, FOX 9 reports. Although scientists have confirmed the mussels are reproducing in Cass Lake, Lake Melissa in Detroit Lakes, Lake Waconia and White Bear Lake, there still may be hope for other lakes where populations are more controlled, the Star Tribune reports.
According to the DNR's website, the non-native clam species can clog drain pipes, injure swimmers and disrupt delicate ecosystems when its population goes unchecked.
The DNR encourages Minnesotans to stay on the lookout for the invasive mussels while taking boats in and out of the water. If you suspect a new infestation, take a photo and contact your local DNR to report the issue.