The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a report of zebra mussels in Lake Leven, near the city of Villard in Pope County.

A lake property owner contacted the DNR after their grandson found suspected zebra mussels on equipment being removed from the lake for the season. A DNR invasive species specialist found zebra mussels on the dock at the Lake Levin public water access, about 600 yards from the initial report location.

Lake Leven is directly upstream of Lake Villard, where zebra mussels were confirmed last year, and Lake Amelia, where they were confirmed in 2018.

“Lake property owners and lake service provider businesses play an important role in detecting invasive species by carefully examining boats, docks and lifts when they are being removed from the water at the end of the season,” DNR Invasive Species Unit Supervisor Heidi Wolf said.

As a reminder, Minnesota law requires that docks and lifts remain out of the water for at least 21 days after removal from a waterbody before they can be placed into another waterbody. In addition, anyone who transports a dock or lift from a shoreline property to an off-site location for storage or repair may need a permit to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

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Important prevention considerations for lake property owners include:

  • Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.

  • Anyone paid to remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment must be DNR trained and permitted. A list of DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses is available on the DNR website.

  • Contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if an invasive species is discovered that has not already been confirmed in that waterbody.