Zebra mussel larvae confirmed in Red Lake, DNR says

Zebra mussels Photo: KSTP
Zebra mussels

March 11, 2019 03:27 PM

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of zebra mussel larvae in Red Lake in Beltrami County, the department said Monday. The confirmation comes after studying samples gathered last summer by biologists from the Red Lake Nation.

The DNR says it's been working in partnership with the Red Lake Nation for over 10 years to monitor zooplankton in the lake and will continue to work closely with the tribe to respond to the discovery of zebra mussel larvae, known as veligers.


Veligers typically indicate the presence of a reproducing population of zebra mussels, DNR said, but no adult zebra mussels have been identified, yet. The eight veligers were found in a zooplankton sample taken in the middle of Upper Red Lake.

"Unfortunately, the most reasonable conclusion is that they came from adult reproduction within the lake itself," DNR research scientist Gary Montz said. "Red Lake is a unique lake system—very large and shallow— it is not possible to estimate the abundance or distribution of zebra mussels in Upper Red Lake from this sample."

Officials are now working to determine next steps, but actions will likely include a combination of continued monitoring, increased watercraft inspections in the area and additional public information efforts, DNR said.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, 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.

DNR says 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.

If you think you've found zebra mussels or any other invasive species, contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist.

You can also find more information at

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