Residents react to zebra mussels in lakes Brophy and CowdryThe march of the zebras continues.
By: Wendy Wilson, Alexandria Echo Press
The march of the zebras continues.
Lake Brophy and Lake Cowdry residents shared their reactions to the news that Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials documented zebra mussels in the lakes.
“I’m not really that surprised,” said Lake Brophy Association President Carol Paterson-Smith. “From what I understand of zebra mussels, once one lake becomes infested, eventually they all will be.”
Paterson-Smith noted the interconnectedness of the lakes in Douglas County and raised the question of whether all of the lakes in the chain were infested, including Union, Stoney and Taylor.
Paterson-Smith said she is working to make the Lake Brophy Association more active on matters concerning the lake. She is preparing an informational welcome letter that will likely contain information about the high water issues and the zebra mussels.
“We are not happy about it,” Paterson-Smith said, but she acknowledged, “I think most people on the lakes kind of expected it.”
“We are definitely saddened, but we need to move ahead with conviction and solidarity,” said Peggy Olson, vice president of the Cowdry, Taylor, Stony and Union Lakes Association. “I want to protect the other Douglas County lakes from getting zebra mussels in any way I can. That means keeping check on our lakes, so that zebra mussels or veligers do not leave our lakes to infest another one.”
The association is actively educating people about zebra mussels and is working closely with the DNR and Douglas County Lakes Association to contain the mussels and other invasive species, according to Olson.
Four association members were trained by the DNR to conduct watercraft inspections.
“People need to have the confidence to speak out on this,” she said. “They need to be watchful and report abuses to our lakes.
“People need to be careful of our precious resource and not take it for granted. I think most of the abuses to the lakes take place by individuals… not enlightened on the responsibility we have to our lakes. We are like a loving parent to our lakes. We should not be taking any of this lightly...we wouldn’t with our own children.”
LaGrand Township Chairman Gary Thoennes cited the concerted effort made to prevent the mussels from spreading to other lakes.
“It was inevitable, I think, but I was surprised that it happened that quickly,” he said. “There is nothing I can do to alleviate the problem. You’ve just got to be careful if you are taking your boat from one lake to another.”
Thoennes said he hoped the county would remove the barricade closing the access into the Lake Darling chain.
“Now that they are there, we might as well have the ability to go to the rest of the chain.”