Officials are investigating the report of a zebra mussel in Lake Minnewaska near Glenwood in Pope County.
Lakeshore residents recently found what appears to be an adult zebra mussel attached to a boat seat mount that was submerged in the water. A Department of Natural Resources snorkeling crew surveyed the area, but didn’t find other zebra mussels.
Officials are continuing to search the lake.
"We didn't find any mussels in the spot where the boat seat mount was located, so we will search the surrounding area, moving further and further outward," said Nathan Olson, aquatic invasive species specialist in Fergus Falls.
If zebra mussels are not immediately confirmed, more thorough surveys will be conducted this fall when boat lifts and docks, which sit in the water for extended periods and give adult zebra mussels a greater opportunity to attach themselves, are pulled from the water.
This would be the first zebra mussel infestation reported in Pope County. The DNR will designate Minnewaska as an infested water and educational and enforcement efforts to limit the spread of invasive species will increase at the lake. The DNR said boaters can also expect an increased presence of decontamination units and crews.
Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the state. AIS include, but are not limited to, zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas. Boaters and anglers need to continue to take extra precautions when using this popular lake as zebra mussels could pose risks for other waters.
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The Department of Natural Resources will have field testing stations in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd counties.
Results mirror results in Minnesota, South Dakota.
Previously, the DNR said it would wait until an annual fall walleye survey was complete on Mille Lacs before determing whether winter walleye fishing could begin Dec. 1.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 24