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Annandale Bands Together To Stave Off Zebra Mussel Invasion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Another Minnesota lake is dealing with a pesky invasive species. A single zebra mussel was discovered two weeks ago in Annandale's Cedar Lake.

Now, the DNR is trying to figure out if it's a widespread problem.

Cedar Lake has a reputation for its clean and inviting water.

"We are known for our recreation," Kathy Jonsrud, with the Cedar Lake Conservation Club, said. "We have excellent fishing and water clarity."

Recently, the lake earned a new distinction. A sign alerting boaters that zebra mussels were found in the lake is posted at the public launches for all boaters to see.

In late June, a planned search by Steve McComas of Blue Water Science turned up one single zebra mussel near launch on the north side of the lake.

"The feelings were deep, in fact. The whole community was concerned," Jonsrud said.

Those living near the lake decided to turn their concern into action.

"If we can catch these things early, we can manage it," Sue Nash, a Cedar Lake community member, said.

Friday morning, nearly 20 volunteers took to the water as part of a rapid response assessment. McComas organized the effort and helped lead the search for zebra mussels in several locations around the lake.

"Maybe it's only one, maybe there are hundreds of thousands, but we need to do that intensive search," McComas said.

Using snorkels and scuba gear, the groups scoured the shallows and the deeper water.

Others raked and lifted rocks off lake's floor looking for any indication of an infestation.

"At this point, we're still relatively early in the growing season, so if there's a spawning population, some of these zebra mussels will be 2 to 3 millimeters, only an eighth of an inch long," McComas said.

The search for zebra mussels is nothing new to the Cedar Lake community. Every year they do a smaller scale search and many homeowners also have a zebra plate that monitors for the small invasive species.

The volunteers made many discoveries, from native weeds to snails, but found no zebra mussels, a promising sign after days of concern.

"We will still need to monitor," Jonsrud said. "The hope is we're able to keep this to a minimum."

With no new zebra mussels, the lake may now be a candidate for a pilot treatment program through the DNR.

However, Jonsrud said the lake advisory board will have to discuss that option since adding chemicals to the water impacts native fish and vegetation.

The CLCC is also reminding boaters about responsible boating habits:

-- Clean all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other invasive species from watercrafts, trailers and other equipment.
-- Drain water related equipment and drain bilge, livewell and baitwell. Keep drain plugs out.
-- Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

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