State wildlife officials confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Big Lake.
Big Lake is southeast of Bemidji and is within the Leech Lake tribal reservation boundaries.
A Beltrami County aquatic invasive species inspector reported an adult zebra mussel attached to a native mussel near the Big Lake Public Access.
During a snorkel search of the same area, another adult zebra mussel was found by the DNR.
Big Lake is close to Lake Andrusia, which Beltrami County AIS Director Bruce Anspach says has a heavy population of zebra mussels.
The DNR says they are working with the Leech Lake Tribal natural resources staff to assess the distribution of the invasive specie, as well as monitor this and other lakes and help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Whether or not a lake has any invasive species, 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, and
- 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.