The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on Friday the presence of the highly destructive species, zebra mussel, in the Fish Trap Lake near Motley in Minnesota. This is the first evidence of the invasive mussel in Morrison County.
The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is a small fresh water mussel which was originally native to the lakes of southern Russia – being first described in 1769 by the German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas. However, the species has now been accidentally introduced into numerous other areas, wreaking havoc on the natural habitat. These mussels disrupt the local food chain on the region that they are invading. Despite being small, they have a dangerous ability to take away food from microscopic organisms – which are vital players in ecosystem.
The first suspected mussels were found in June 30 on a submerged tree branch. The DNR biologists inspected the lake again to confirm its presence, and they found the zebra mussels along the eastern shore and southern shore.
The amount of distribution of mussels indicates that that their population is established and natural reproduction around the county is occurring, officials explained.
“This new infestation underscores the need for continued diligence in complying with the state’s laws to prevent and curb the spread of invasive species,” Christine Jurek, DNR invasive species specialist, said in a statement.
With the previous 1,500 hours of annual inspection on boats, the authorities will raise it to 3,100 inspection hours.
The best way to prevent the spreading of mussels is to clean the boat or other craft after using it and before storing it.
The biologists also added that draining the boat and ensuring no standing water left inside is important.
If the microscopic organism did not get any food, they would die, and various species that feed on them would also perish.
The destructive zebra mussels can also affect humans. If they infest a body of water that has pumping machinery, they are capable of inflicting damage on them and the drinking water would not be purified.