The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Lake Bemidji in Beltrami County.
In July, an adult zebra mussel was found in the stomach contents of a perch caught by a Lake Bemidji State Park volunteer while fishing on the north shore. DNR investigations at that time, including diving and sampling for zebra mussel larvae, did not lead to conclusive evidence.
Zebra mussels were recently confirmed during planned dock and lift inspections. A Beltrami County aquatic invasive species specialist found individual adult zebra mussels on the Northwoods public access dock and on a dock near a resort on the south side of the lake.
Lakes connected to Lake Bemidji by navigable waters will also be listed as infested. These include Lake Marquette, Carr Lake, Lake Irving, Stump Lake and the stretch of the Mississippi River from Stump Lake to Wolf Lake.
"The DNR appreciates the help of Beltrami County staff who partnered with us to look for zebra mussels in Lake Bemidji," said DNR Invasive Species Unit Supervisor Heidi Wolf. "The diligent work of Beltrami County and our other partners around the state is invaluable."
Minnesota law requires keeping docks and lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water.
The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:
- 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.
- Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have received training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
- People should contact their area aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in a lake. Take a photo of any newly discovered invasive species before removing it from equipment. Save specimens or leave them in place until the DNR can investigate.
More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.