In precautionary move, DNR designates Lake Latoka as infested with zebra mussels
Lake Latoka in Douglas County near Alexandria is joining the growing list of Minnesota lakes that are designated as infested with zebra mussels.
Earlier this month, a snorkeler found a 3 or 4-year old zebra mussel in the lake, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
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.
Also this week, the DNR 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.
More information about aquatic invasive species is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.