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Zebra mussels invade five new Minnesota lakes

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Five new cases of zebra mussels were reported in central Minnesota lakes, the Department of Natural Resources said in a release.

The lakes in question were West Battle Lake and Otter Tail Lake in Otter Tail County, Lake Florida in Kandiyohi County, Pocket Lake in Douglas County and a network of abandoned mine pits in Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crow Wing County.

Infested waters signs have been posted at DNR accesses at all of those locations.

“While any new infestation is serious, it’s important to note that more than 98 percent of Minnesota lakes are not listed as infested with zebra mussels,” DNR Section Manager Ann Pierce said. “Boaters and anglers, DNR-trained watercraft inspectors and enforcement officers, lake associations and many others are working to keep it that way.”

The infamous invasive species were discovered mostly by tips from swimmers and divers who noted the creatures and reported them to the DNR.

The organization said that citizen reports are frequently the first indication of a new infestation.

Zebra mussels by the numbers

As of August 2016, there were 121 lakes infested with zebra mussels, which accounts for less than 2 percent of all Minnesota lakes, the DNR’s website says. (For an updated list of infested waterways, click here, or check out this map here.)

Zebra mussels are bad news for cities, power plants and those who use the water. The invasive species can clog water intakes and pipes; attach to boat motors, reducing their performance and efficiency; attach to rocks, swim rafts and ladders, where swimmers can cut their feet; and impact the health of the lake or waterway where they live.

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