Check for Zebra Mussels When Taking Docks Out
Zebra mussels are spreading to lakes and rivers in the Midwest. These small invasive mussels attach to hard surfaces in lakes and rivers killing native mussels, limiting recreational activities, clogging water supply pipes, and competing with larval fish for food. In Minnesota, zebra mussels have been found in the Mississippi River, the St. Louis River, Lake Superior, and Lake Zumbro, the first inland lake with zebra mussels in the state. Gary Montz, zebra mussel coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, asks for your help in monitoring for zebra mussels.
Visually inspect hard surfaces for zebra mussels when you take your docks and watercraft out this fall. These surfaces include docks, boatlifts, dock floats and supports, swimming platforms, boats, motors, anchors, and any objects that have been in the lake or river for the summer. Check areas that zebra mussels are especially attracted to like trim tabs, rubber gaskets, grooves along the keel of pontoon boats, and sailboat centerboards. During early infestations, zebra mussels are likely to be small (1/4-1/2 inch long) and the number attached on any object is likely to be low. You can also examine rocks and other hard surfaces along the shoreline and in shallow water, especially near water accesses. If you suspect zebra mussels in your lake or previously uninfested section of river, immediately contact the MN DNR at (651) 296-2835. Preserve a few zebra mussels in rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and mail them to:
MN DNR, Division of Ecological Services Box 25
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155