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Mussels found in Victoria

Echo Press file The channel going into Lake Victoria was restricted last summer.

Late last fall, Dave Rush received a phone call from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Rush, the Douglas County Land and Resource Management director, learned that zebra mussels had been found in Lake Victoria.

He also found out that the DNR re-declared Lakes Victoria and Jessie as infested waters. In June of last year, both these lakes were taken off the infested waters list.

Because both lakes are back on the list, Rush went before the Douglas County Board Tuesday to ask the commissioners if he could start the process to repeal the water surface ordinance that was enforced on Lake Victoria last summer.

Last year, a channel restriction was placed between Lakes Victoria and Geneva as part of the ordinance. Rush now wants the county to remove that restriction.

In order to do this, a public hearing will need to be held, which Rush asked the commissioners to do next month.

"I don't expect any opposition to this [lifting the channel restriction]," Rush told commissioners. "I need your blessing to start the repeal process of the water surface ordinance."

Rush added that the channel restriction between Lakes Cowdry and Darling will remain in place.

Zebra mussels were first discovered in the Alexandria lakes area in June of 2009 - first in Lake L'Homme Dieu and later in Lake Geneva and then Lake Carlos.

Now, with Lakes Victoria and Jessie back on the infested water list, there are a total of seven Douglas County lakes on the list, including L'Homme Dieu, Geneva, Carlos, Darling, Alvin, Jessie and Victoria.

When the date for the public hearing is set, a notice will be published in the Echo Press on Page 2 under meetings.

- See related story on page A8.