INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN-- The Minnesota DNR confirmed Wednesday Zebra mussel larvae have been identified in a Minnesota lake near International falls.
The invasive species was found in the portion of Rainy Lake, just outside Voyageurs National Park.
Zebra mussels are not necessarily preferred in lakes because they can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.
Four of the five water samples taken by the DNR contained Zebra mussel larvae, which suggests its population is growing in Rainy Lake.
Rep. Rob Ecklund of International Falls urged boaters to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species across Minnesota’s lakes.
“Rainy Lake is a natural treasure with some of the best fishing in the entire state. I’m deeply concerned that zebra mussel larvae were found in the lake, which highlights the importance of everyone washing their boat every time they take it out of the lake, draining the water, and dumping bait buckets,” Ecklund said.
Whether or not a lake has any invasive species, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to properly clean their watercraft and trailer before moving to another body of water.
People are encouraged to take note of the exact location of a new infestation of an aquatic invasive plant or animal and contact a Minnesota DNR aquatic invasive species specialist about their findings.