Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists have confirmed a report that several tiny zebra mussels have been found in Lake Minnetonka. They’re attached to rocks along the shore on the east side of Wayzata Bay near Highway 101.
A local resident discovered the zebra mussels earlier this week and reported his findings to the DNR.
It is not known how widespread zebra mussels are in the lake. The young age of the zebra mussels suggest a reproducing population has likely been in the lake for a least a year.
The number of zebra mussels found was very low. The DNR is looking further into the situation this week. A more extensive survey will be done later in the summer when any mussels in the lake will be larger and more visible. Anyone who finds zebra mussels in the lake should contact the DNR.
For many years, the DNR has worked closely with the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD) and others to inspect boats and educate lake users in an effort to prevent the spread of invasive species into Lake Minnetonka. The DNR focused significant efforts on Lake Minnetonka because of the high amount of recreational boating and angling use at the lake.
“Unfortunately, zebra mussels still found their way to the lake,” said Luke Skinner, supervisor of DNR’s invasive species unit.
A nonnative invasive species, zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, impact fish populations, interfere with recreation, and increase costs for industry, including power and water supply facilities. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia, zebra mussels were first discovered in Minnesota in 1989 in the Duluth harbor. They subsequently have spread to 17 inland lakes, including Mille Lacs, Prior, and Le Homme Dieu and to portions of the Mississippi, St. Croix and Zumbro rivers.
With the discovery of zebra mussels in Lake Minnetonka, boaters and anglers need to continue to take extra precautions when using this popular lake as Zebra mussels could pose risks for other waters.
Boaters are required by law to:
Remove aquatic plants and zebra mussels from boats and trailers.
Drain all water, including pulling the drain plug, open water draining devises, and draining bilges and live wells. The drain plug has to be removed or open when transporting your boat on public roads.
Drain bait buckets when exiting lakes that have been designated as infested with spiny water flea or zebra mussels. Anglers can keep unused bait when leaving infested waters if they replace the water with tap or spring.
It is also recommended to spray or rinse boats with high pressure and/or hot water, or let them dry thoroughly for five days before transporting to another body of water.