Updated: 06/27/2014 1:23 PM
Created: 06/27/2014 12:36 PM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart
Zebra mussels have been found in a Becker County lake, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The invasive species was found in Lake Melissa, just southwest of Detroit Lakes. A resident found the invasive species while collecting shells in the south end of the lake, the DNR says.
"This is the first confirmed zebra mussel find in the Detroit Lakes area," Barry Stratton, a member of the DNR's Ecological and Water Resources Division, said.
Zebra mussels are a non-native species that can crowd out native mussels. They also compete for food with other aquatic animals, like larval fish. They spread by attaching to boat hulls and lifts, and they can also attach to aquatic plants, making it necessary for boaters to remove all aquatic vegetation before leaving a lake.
The DNR has designated Lake Melissa, along with Mill and Minnow Ponds, as infested. The ponds are downstream from the lake.
Officials looked for mussels in Lake Sallie, which is upstream from Lake Melissa, and didn't find any. The two lakes are connected by the Pelican River.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed a tax bill earlier this year that allows for an extra $10 million in state spending for local programs aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, including zebra mussels and invasive carp.