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DNR Confirms Zebra Mussels in North Lake Lida - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

DNR Confirms Zebra Mussels in North Lake Lida

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It's like a ticking time bomb in Otter Tail County. In just a few years 15 bodies of water now have zebra mussels. On Wednesday the DNR confirmed North Lake Lida, near Pelican Rapids has them too. Valley News team's Eric Crest found out a bit more by speaking with cabin and homeowners who have been trying to prevent the spread for years.

It's awful news that was just confirmed. The DNR says there are indeed zebra mussels in Lake Lida in fact they say they're about two years old. After talking to residents on the lake they says it's not a huge surprise. After all, neighboring lakes out in Otter Tail county already have zebra mussels.

Homeowner Gerry Langsuth who lives on Lida says she's been hoping that invasive species wouldn't migrate for years but wasn't surprised by Wednesday's news, "we're so close to the infected lakes... just take your boat out of one lake and run to us and in you go."

Gerry Langsuth and her team of volunteers have been at public landings for years. Trying to let people know about zebra mussels and their ability to hitch hike from one lake to the next. But their power to enforce the laws of the land are highly limited, "we have the ability to educate. Most people respond to the education really well," says Langsuth.

But not everyone, particularly, visitors like one out of towner her colleague recently ran into at the launch, "apparently he had been at Pelican, Crystal, and came to lake Lida. Whether they knew about the mussels I don't know. But when they were told they shouldn't be coming into our lake they didn't seem to care. So off into the lake they went."

Gerry admits that was highly unusual but proves another point, "I'm sure that's happened more than one time because we don't have inspectors 24-7."

Which is heavily attributed to the DNR's resources being spread thin. But this summer they'll be adding more than 200 clean and drain stations at boat launches throughout Minnesota. But for Lake Lida, it's too little too late.

"The DNR can only do what they have funds for and unless we become politically active to push our legislature to do something about it. This is going to be what happens," says Langsuth.

Remember to clean, drain, and dry your boat for up to five days after going into an infected lake. Zebra mussels have no natural predators, so once a lake has them, the invasive species continues to spread.

DNR PRESS RELEASE BELOW......... 

DNR confirms zebra mussels in North Lida Lake in Otter Tail County; investigating report of zebra mussels in Lake Latoka in Douglas County

North and South Lida lakes and Venstrom Lake to be designated as infested waters as well as Lake Latoka in Douglas County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in North Lida Lake in Otter Tail County near Pelican Rapids.

Late last week, DNR crews searched the lake and discovered two zebra mussels about a half-mile from the location where, earlier this month, a lakeshore resident found a can with two adult zebra mussels attached to it in front of a private lake access.

Based on their size, the newly discovered mussels are at least 2 years old, which suggests there are at least two different year classes in the lake and both are of reproductive age.

"The zebra mussel veligers, or larvae, are in the lake and can disperse to new areas downstream," said Joe Eisterhold, DNR Northwest Region aquatic invasive species specialist. "If zebra mussels have been present in North Lida Lake for several years, the veligers are possibly already in South Lida and Venstrom lakes."

The DNR will designate North Lida, South Lida and Venstrom lakes as infested waters and signs will be posted at all public accesses. That does not mean each lake is confirmed to be infested, but that zebra mussels have been detected in a lake accessible by boat from those accesses and spread is likely between those connected waters.

Lake Latoka in Douglas County near Alexandria will also be designated as infested. Earlier this month, a snorkeler found a 3- or 4-year old zebra mussel in the lake. DNR biologists recently searched the area near the find, but were unable to locate any additional zebra mussels. In this case, the DNR will designate this water as infested as a precaution until additional searches of Lake Latoka can be conducted.

"These designations mean that regulations, education and enforcement to limit the spread of invasive species will increase in these waters," Eisterhold said.

Anglers, boater and other recreationists are reminded to take the following steps before leaving a water access: 

  • Clean boat by removing plants, zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species from watercraft, trailer, anchor and all water-related equipment. 
  • Drain water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait container, and motor) and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell by removing drain plugs. Keep drain plugs out and all water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches and worms, in the trash. Plan ahead to save bait by transferring it to containers prefilled with bottled or purified tap water.

More information about aquatic invasive species is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

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