Zebra Mussels in Wabedo Lake?
By Bob Krahn (WLBCR Lake Association)
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)! The spread of Zebra Mussels and other AIS in our lakes and rivers is most commonly due to careless or insensitive boaters who forget, or simply refuse to properly clean, drain, dispose, and dry their equipment when moving from one body of water to another. Decontamination stations are strategically located to assist boaters in ensuring clean boats when moving between lakes (https://webapps15.dnr.state.mn.us/ais_decon_sites).
August 15, 2020 a fisherman and his pals did not thoroughly clean their boat and trailer before entering Wabedo Lake. According to the boat owner, he had launched at 5:00 AM, prior to the arrival of the Cass County Boat Inspector. At approximately 11:00 AM the boat owner returned to the landing to begin the process of trailering his boat. Coincidently, volunteers Bob Krahn and Dave Sohn were sampling aquatic plants at the landing as part of an AIS effort called Starry Trek. Prior to the trailer entering the water to load the boat, the Inspector noticed a large clump of aquatic plants near the axle of the trailer. Upon further inspection, a ¼” zebra mussel was found on the aquatic plants. The boat owner claimed several times that he only fished Wabedo therefore could not have transmitted the aquatic plants and the zebra mussel to this lake. It was only after the Inspector found two (2) adult zebra mussels attached to his boat that he admitted to fishing in an infested lake recently. The aquatic plants were bagged and taken for analysis to Levy Bergstrom, Cass County Resource Specialist, where it was noticed that the aquatic plants also contained approximately 20 juvenile zebra mussels. The sample was forwarded to Nicole Kovar, DNR AIS Specialist. Levy and Nicole have since been to the Wabedo landing sampling native vegetation types. The aquatic plants found on the trailer do not apparently occur in the part of Wabedo Lake near the boat landing, reinforcing the premise that the plants were imported from an infected lake. Minnesota law prohibits the transport of Aquatic Invasive Species. The offending boater may be subject to a fine.
A dive team will search the area around the Wabedo boat landing for evidence that a zebra mussel population exists. According to Nicole, zebra mussels may, or may not have been introduced into the lake during this event. It is possible that those in the vegetation sample and the two on the boat were the only invasive mussels carried by this boater. If, however, zebra mussels were introduced into the lake, it may be several years before they reach an observable density.
Property owners on Wabedo and the connecting lakes, along with non-resident users of the lakes, should be especially diligent in cleaning their equipment and watching for signs of infestation. If you observe any suspicious aquatic species, capture a sample in a sealable bag, take a photo, and note the specific location and time the sample was taken Report any suspicious aquatic species you find, with location and date. Report your findings to Nicole Kovar, at 218-616-8102 or Nicole.kovar@state,mn.us.
Wabedo and Little Boy Lakes, which are connected by a navigable channel, have 3 (three) trained AIS Detectors living on the lakes who sample vegetation at the public landings monthly to try to detect any AIS early and, hopefully, contain the spread of any species that are introduced. As the boating season nears its end for the year, boaters and property owners should carefully inspect their boats, docks, lifts, and fishing tackle for any possible infestations.
WLBCR Updated AIS Plan
On May 16, 2020 the WLBCR Lakes Association board approved an updated AIS Plan. The plan was updated on June 22, 2020 to include information on mystery snails and crusty crayfish. The plan acknowledges and follows the Cass County AIS Prevention and Management Plan as approved by the Cass County Board of Commissioners on 3/20/2020 and supports the Minnesota state law: Clean your watercraft, Drain all water, Dispose of unused bait. The plan identifies general strategies to be implemented to educate property owners and the public, in order to greatly reduce or prevent AIS from entering the lakes.
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) has made available several webinars that may be of interest to you. The full list is available at: https://www.maisrc.umn.edu/ais-detectors/webinars
In the News
Zebra mussel genome has been identified by researchers at MAISRC (MN AIS Research Center) See StarTribune article of July 11, 2019: http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-scientists-map-genome-of-invasive-zebra-mussel/512555322/
MAISRC website: https://www.maisrc.umn.edu/zebramussel-research
Minnesota Infested Waters
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regularly updates the state infested waters list, which includes Minnesota lakes and rivers containing certain aquatic invasive species. There is also a downloadable Excel spreadsheet, which is the most complete version of the infested waters list. Another resource is the EDDSMaps site which lists MN infested waters. EDDSMaps www.eddmaps.org/midwest/tools/infestedwaters/
Reporting a Suspected Invasive Species
If you suspect a new infestation of an aquatic invasive plant or animal, note the date, the exact location, and, if possible, take several photos and keep the specimen (a plastic bag is fine). Then, be sure to contact the AIS specialist for our region:
Nicole Kovar, DNR AIS specialist, Park Rapids office – firstname.lastname@example.org; ph. #218-732-8960
For More Information
MAISRC (MN AIS Research Center): www.maisrc.umn.edu
MN DNR EDDSMaps www.eddmaps.org/midwest/tools/infestedwaters/
MN Lakes & Rivers Advocates: http://mnlakesandrivers.org/
MN Sea Grant: http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/
Wildlife Forever: https://www.wildlifeforever.org/
Association of Cass County Lakes (ACCL): http://www.acclakes.org/