Zebra mussels confirmed in Farm Island Lake in Aitkin County

June 11, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a report of zebra mussels in Farm Island Lake in Aitkin County.

A lake property owner fishing on the lake contacted the DNR after finding an adult zebra mussel on vegetation attached to a boat anchor. The DNR sampled the vegetation and collected a plankton sample, which revealed a zebra mussel larva, or veliger. Veligers may indicate a reproducing population of zebra mussels.

After reports of individual zebra mussels in Farm Island Lake in 2018 and 2019, the DNR was unable to find additional zebra mussels or veligers, despite a number of follow-up searches. The DNR appreciates the vigilance of lake users who contact the agency when they find what may be invasive species not previously confirmed in a lake.

Whether or not invasive species have been confirmed in a lake, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody:     

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

Zebra mussels 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.

People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species that has not already been confirmed in a lake.

More information is available on the DNR’s aquatic invasive species webpage.